For Sport

Travel Insurance for extreme sports abroad

By Emma Drew

August 11, 2016

Travel Insurance for extreme sports abroad

A Judo star was left with severe head injuries after a motor bike accident whilst teaching in Vietnam but at the time of her crash, her insurance company refused to pay for her medical treatment. 

The crash happened when the woman’s dress became caught in the wheel of the bike, causing her to fall off and hit her head on the road where she ended up in a coma in intensive care and fighting for her life.

The young woman, who was a frequent traveller and had participated in many worldwide sporting events understood the importance of travel insurance. Prior to her trip she took out a twelve month policy with a reputable high street store, but at the time of her crash, she was left in an ambulance outside of the hospital for over three hours before receiving emergency medical treatment when doctors realised her travel insurance was invalid. In the clause of the travel policy’s terms and conditions, it wasn’t clearly stipulated that the cover was only valid for 31 days per trip, but the accident happened four months into this particular trip, by which time the policy had expired and the young woman was deemed uninsured.

A case like this highlights the seriousness and importance of having the right type of travel insurance cover in place, especially if you are planning to use vehicles such as motor bikes whilst abroad as the medical costs resulting from an accident may not be covered within the remit of a standard travel insurance policy. This also applies if you are planning on taking part in any extreme sporting activities whilst on holiday. Extreme sports include jet-skiing, scuba diving, rock climbing, abseiling, white-water rafting, shark cage diving and bungee jumping.

Research by The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) found that those aged between 18-34 were least likely to take out travel insurance, saying it was far too expensive to pay the extra premiums on top of the costs of their holiday, especially as the more dangerous the activity is, the higher the premium increased for travel insurance. However, the cost of the extra insurance premium would be minor in comparison to the tens of thousands of pounds you could potentially have to pay for medical expenses and repatriation costs back to the UK.

The insurance cover available will vary depending on which travel providers you choose. Most travel policies will include standard cover for some sporting activities but will also give you the option to upgrade and extend your cover for any high risk sports. It is important to have an idea of the kind of activities you would be doing before you book your holiday to ensure you will be fully protected.

If you do take out a standard travel policy but once you are away decide to take part in an extreme sport you should ring your insurance provider to see if you can extend your policy cover. However, not all providers will be able to amend your policy once you have left for your holiday and therefore it is down to you to assess whether the risk is worth taking.

Furthermore, if you do decide to take the risk, you should read any documentation carefully before signing anything that states you agree to undertake any dangerous sporting activity as you could in fact be signing a disclaimer which could exempt the company from any responsibility of protecting you with their insurance cover in the event of an accident.

You should check the details of your policy for whether you need to be accompanied by a qualified instructor whilst taking part in extreme sports, especially if you have little previous experience in the sport you are participating in.

Safety should be your number one priority before booking your holiday and ensuring you have the correct insurance cover in place rather than relying on the false assumption that such an accident would never happen to you.

The young woman has fortunately since made a remarkable recovery, after a donations page was set up to help her with the costs of her medical treatment and repatriation back to the UK and is progressing back to fitness through her passion for Judo sport.

 

How can we help?

Howden’s travel policy provides instant cover for personal accident and medical costs. For more information please speak to your usual insurance representative or call us on 0121 698 8000.

 

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The Zika Virus over-shadowing major sports events

By Emma Drew

August 4, 2016

The Zika Virus over-shadowing major sports events

The Zika virus surrounding the news headlines recently has clouded the final preparations of a major sporting event taking place in Brazil, with many athletes concerned for their health, with some undecided on whether to pull out of the tournament altogether. 

The International Olympic Committee and the British Olympic Association, in discussion with The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the country as a safe place to visit despite the fears regarding the Zika virus becoming an international concern.

Clusters of the virus have been reported in areas such as El Salvador, Brazil, and French Polynesia. Reports of a senior neurological condition that can lead to paralysis have also risen in affected areas caused by the Virus.

What is the Zika virus?

The Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, but human outbreaks have only recently been discovered. It is a disease transmitted primarily through mosquito bites and has the potential to reach pandemic levels, according to reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Treatment

There is currently no vaccination to cure the Zika virus. Once a person is infected, the incubation period for the virus is approximately 3-12 days. However, Hospitalization and death is rare.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Arthralgia
  • Conjunctivitis

Every effort needs to be made to manage the exposures related to the virus, especially amongst pregnant women.  A mother already infected with the Zika virus can pass the virus onto her new born around the time of birth.

There has also been an associated increase of microcephaly, a congenital condition linked with incomplete brain development in new born babies. Women returning from affected countries have been advised to postpone becoming pregnant for at least one month after they return home and pregnant women who have recently travelled to an affected area should seek medical evaluation because perinatal transmission of the Zika virus has been known to cause poor foetal outcomes.

Transmitting the virus

The disease is most commonly transmitted through mosquito bites when they feed off a person already infected with the virus. Mosquitos can bite people at any time as they reside indoors as well as outdoors and most commonly bite at night.

The virus can also be spread through sexual transmission and in one case the virus was spread a few days before symptoms developed. At present there have been no confirmed reports of the virus being transmitted through blood transfusion, although multiple cases have been reported in Brazil, which are currently being investigated and incidents were also reported during the French Polynesia outbreak where 2.8% of blood donors tested positive for the Zika virus.

Insurance cover for Zika

As an employer, if your employees are due to spend a short period of time in a country where there is a known risk of exposure to the virus, it is necessary to purchase a Foreign Voluntary Worker’s Compensation policy that covers endemic disease.

The Foreign Voluntary Worker’s Compensation (FVWC) provides coverage for injuries resulting from an indigenous disease declaration to which an employee is exposed to while abroad for work purposes. For those in association with the British Travel Accident (BTA), employers should note that there may be limitations or exclusions for exposure to the Zika virus. In addition, employees need to be fully informed about the risks of the Zika virus prior to accepting any overseas work opportunities.

Employers liability could come into action if a pregnant employee is sent to an affected country and contracts the Zika virus. However, claims for birth defects or other injuries to new-born’s may present coverage challenges under Worker’s Compensation but could fall within the scope of the Employer’s General Liability cover. Incidents and injuries related to the Zika virus may present multiple challenges for risk and claims management insurers and employers will need to review their polices carefully and adjust or amend coverage as necessary.

How can we help?

For more information on the issues raised in this article or to discuss your travel insurance requirements please contact us on 0121 698 8000.

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Tennis player threatens to sue over safety on court

By Emma Drew

July 14, 2016

Tennis player threatens to sue over safety on court

A well-known tennis star competing in Wimbledon this year recently threatened to sue an umpire official after he allowed a match to commence in rainy conditions, which the player felt had made the grass courts slippery and unplayable.

The player criticised the umpire’s decision to continue the game, saying he would have been perfectly entitled to sue if he had been injured after being forced to play in what he deemed to be dangerous conditions.

The same level of risk equally applies at local level as well as at national level. For example, in a recent incident at a cricket club, two cricket umpires were sued by a player who slipped on a damp wicket and injured himself.

Cases like this highlight the duty of care and responsibility event organisers and match officials should have towards those participating in sports events. An injury to a player could not only jeopardise a players long term career but could also incur high costs for damages to the sports organisation itself. However, sportsmen and women participating in major tournaments too have a duty of care and responsibility to themselves to either accept the conditions or to decide not to participate at all if they feel endangered in any way.

Criticism was again directed towards umpires during the French Open when players were allegedly forced to remain on court for over two hours despite the drizzly conditions, which had already disrupted much of the tennis schedule for that week. It is thought the umpire continued the game, as the rules of the tournament state tickets cannot be reimbursed after two hours of play. However, in the event one of these players had been injured during the game, the cost of settling a claim could have been considerably more than the cost of refunding spectators tickets.

The tennis star is currently taking the issue up with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) player council, calling for a review of safety conditions on court. Furthermore, with the Australian Open approaching, the tennis player has also raised his concerns about players being expected to play in extreme heat, sometimes reaching up to 44 degrees and the health implications this could cause to those competing in major tournaments.

The nature of the claims culture is a growing concern and it seems now if a player gets injured they instantly look for someone else to blame.

Fortunately on this occassion no one was injured but this case does highlight the potential risks tennis players face on court like breaking a leg or suffering some other similar injury.

How can we help?

Perkins Slade provide liability protection for all Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) clubs and officials as part of their registration. In the event a player does threaten to sue your club or an official at local level, your club would be protected by the LTA’s insurance.

For more information or to discuss your tennis clubs insurance requirements, please call us on 0121 698 8000.

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Would your club survive a whaling attack?

By Emma Drew

June 21, 2016

Would your club survive a whaling attack?

 

Earlier this year a volunteer run Tennis Club, was targeted by a new but increasingly common type of phishing attack. The treasurer of the club received a series of emails that purported to be from the chairman, requesting that the treasurer urgently transfer over £10,000 into an account to make a payment that was overdue, and could cause problems for the club if it wasn’t paid quickly.

The fraudsters email looked very convincing and so the treasurer went ahead and made the payment. As you can appreciate, the loss of such a large sum of money was devastating to the club.

This type of attack, known as whaling, is a new form of “phishing” in that it targets one “big fish” organisation as opposed to many smaller consumers and is a highly profitable scam. In recent months several sports organisations, including small clubs and National Governing Bodies, have found themselves the victim to such an attack.

Although cyber-attacks may seem complex, some of the most successful hacks have been achieved using simple methods such as social-engineering to trick their target into transferring large amounts of money straight into a fraudulent account. They don’t even need to use malware technology to gain access to your organisations software.

Cyber criminals conduct their attack by carrying out extensive research into the functional divisions of an organisation by taking information from your company’s website and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find information on staff within that organisation.

The attack is delivered in the form of a hoax email from a spoof domain name that appears to have been sent by the CEO of the company to the finance department, urgently requesting money to be transferred to an external account. Cyber criminals will impersonate the CEO by engaging in conversation with their target by asking questions such as “Are you in the office today?”, “Can you do me a favour and transfer this money to this account” for a payment request that requires a single sign off to process the transaction.

Unlike other types of spam, whaling emails are more difficult to detect because they don’t have suspicious looking hyperlinks attached that could deter a person from opening an email. The layout of the email is usually well written, inconspicuous and appears to be genuine.

Tips on protecting your club from a whaling attack:

  • Provide training and education for your staff and volunteers, particularly those with management and financial responsibility and ensure they are aware of this type of scam.
  • Demonstrate examples of how sports clubs and organisations have been caught out in the past by similar attacks.
  • Carry out a simulated test within your club in how to identify and prevent a whaling attack.
  • Set up an alert system that flags up emails that have been received from outside of your sports organisation.
  • Register with a domain alerting service that notifies you when a domain has been created that closely matches your organisations domain.
  • Revise and review your financial procedures for sending payment to external parties.
  • Keep software up to date and frequently run malware and spyware checks. Inform staff and volunteers about the dangers of opening suspicious looking emails, especially if the email fails to display the senders details in the footer from the organisations address book.

Andy Goulbourne, Associate Director of Sport and Recreation from Perkins Slade adds:

“Cyber-attacks against large corporations are in the news on an almost daily basis but these types of low level frauds, targeted against small organisations, can be really damaging. Several of our clients, from small member’s clubs to National Governing Bodies, have been targeted by phishing attacks that have cost them tens of thousands of pounds. However robust your IT security is, it won’t prevent losses resulting from human error or this kind of deception. A specific cyber and data insurance policy could cover the cost of such a loss, and would also provide essential IT and legal support in the event of an attack on your website or in the case of a denial-of-service (DOS) issue in an attempt to corrupt an organisations network to make it temporarily or indefinitely unavailable for its users. This could lead to a loss of revenues and high costs to restore the website as well as causing damage to your sports organisations reputation and customer relations”. 

How can we help?

For more information on whaling attacks and cyber-crime visit Mimecast.com or to discuss your club’s insurance needs call us on 0121 698 8000

* Statistics according to a survey conducted my minecast

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Stay safe when travelling abroad for sports events

By Emma Drew

June 10, 2016

Stay safe when travelling abroad for sports events

 

The excitement of attending a major sports event may be at the forefront of enthusiastic sports fans minds, however safety abroad remains a top issue of concern.

For many people a major sports event abroad creates the perfect opportunity to combine a holiday whilst supporting your favourite sport. However, as with any trip abroad there are a number of potential risks to take into consideration.

The threat of terrorism across the world is becoming ever more prevalent, leaving many people feeling anxious to travel. Tensions remain high in France, the host country of this year’s European Championships after multiple terror attacks were carried out in Paris last November, with one of the attacks taking place during a football friendly match between France and Germany, when a suicide bomber detonated his vest outside of the Stade de France, killing three people and causing widespread panic in the stadium.

Furthermore, while we can assume most European countries are relatively safe, foreign visitors are often the victim of crime related incidents, with some cases even involving physical assault.

There are a number of precautionary measures you can take to stay safe when abroad:

  • Stay updated with local media before and during your trip and regularly check the FCO Foreign travel advice site for any disruptions taking place in the country you are visiting.
  • Choose a hotel in a safe location operated by 24 hour security.
  • Ensure your hotel room is safe by checking windows and doors lock securely.
  • In the case of a terror incident read the blog on Bombing Incidents – Security Advice.
  • Take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy including cover for medical treatment.
  • Visit your doctor for any necessary vaccinations or prescription medicine before travelling and order a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to medical care in the EEA and Switzerland.
  • Purchase event tickets in advance from a reputable company.
  • Research the customs of that country and practise socially acceptable behaviour.
  • Keep a spare photocopy of your passport and other travel documents separate from the originals.
  • Shield your hand over the keypad when entering your PIN at an ATM cash machine.
  • Carry only one credit card and a small amount of cash.
  • Carry the phone number of your bank and hotel separately in the event you become the victim of a robbery.
  • Be extra vigilant of pick pockets amongst large crowds and transport places such as railways and airports.
  • Be cautious of thieves when walking in remote areas after dark.
  • Keep valuables such as smart phones inside jacket pockets or cross over shoulder bags.
  • Keep your belongings on your lap or in front of you if you are in a café or restaurant since bags are often reported stolen from under tables and from the backs of chairs.
  • If you go out at night make sure you are amongst a trusted group of people since there is safety in numbers and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.

For more detailed advice on safety abroad read the blog on – The business travellers safety guide abroad or check out GOV.UK top travel and safety tips to help fans travelling to France for Euro 2016.

How can we help?

For further advice please contact 0121 698 8000.

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Does your club need Employer’s Liability insurance for volunteers?

By Emma Drew

April 5, 2016

Does your club need Employer’s Liability insurance for volunteers?

Volunteers are a valuable asset to any sports club and as part of their role often carry out maintenance repairs on the club’s behalf. This is a great benefit, but can lead to a number of pitfalls that the club should protect against.

While it is quite acceptable when a volunteer carries out basic maintenance on a club hut or clubhouse, and generally much appreciated, it is important to realise that the club should carry the same duty of care towards such a volunteer as it would towards an employee.

Every now and then volunteers can be at risk of personal injury and if they suffer an injury that results from the work they are carrying out on the Club’s behalf, under the Club committee’s instruction, this could manifest itself as an Employers’ Liability claim against the club. In such circumstances the club would be indemnified by its Employers’ Liability insurance, presuming such insurance has been arranged.

Most insurers working in the sports arena understand that maintenance work is often undertaken by volunteers and this is accepted as an insured activity under the Employers Liability insurance. One question often raised is to what extent the club’s Employers’ Liability would cover different degrees of work, however, from painting and minor repairs to re-roofing or major works.

The usual threshold relates to work that could be undertaken by a reasonably competent DIY enthusiast, using normal household tools. This would be acceptable to insurers, but if the club is undertaking anything more specialist, such as roofing, even if the volunteer doing the work is an expert or professional, this will be outside the scope of the insurance cover and specific arrangements should be made with the clubs insurers.

With regard to major works, we would always recommend these are carried out by contracted specialists with their own insurance cover, but please check with your insurance broker if you are about to undertake any activity and are unsure of your insurance protection.

Notwithstanding the Employers’ Liability issues, be aware also of regulations relating to certain works, such as gas fitting and electrical work, when volunteers are undertaking repairs at your clubhouse or hut.

It is a legal requirement that some works, including fitting a boiler or major electrical works such as the installation of a ring main, need to be certified by a qualified professional. Minor works do not need to be certified but it is advisable to have them inspected and certified by a qualified professional to ensure that they have been installed correctly and are safe to use. Failure to do so could result in problems with your insurance cover if the repair work is in some way defective and a loss results.

For example, if a volunteer carries out some minor electrical work at your hut or clubhouse and, as a result of a fault with this work, a fire is caused, insurers may decline to cover the repair costs if the work has not been appropriately certificated by a qualified professional in line with the regulations. Saving on the cost of hiring a professional contractor could ultimately become costly in these circumstances.

How can we help? 

Perkins Slade can provide advice and guidance about Employer’s Liability cover for clubs and insurance protection for clubhouses and huts.

For more information please email Sports Enquiry or speak to them on 0121 698 8000.

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