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BCA pros and cons

pwhole

Well-known member
My main worry with enforcing insurance to be a member of the BCA (or accessing caves - yes I'm aware landowners may stipulate it, but this is only because we have created this status quo) is what happens when a claim finally occurs (or two) - leading to the BCA being unable to pay the excess and the insurance premiums rising drastically such that it becomes unaffordable?

Isn't that the case with all insurance everywhere though? Statistically, I suspect most people paying insurance 'lose their money' - in the sense that nothing bad ever happened, and so they never made a claim, and just paid off their premium. It's much rarer for something bad to happen, and you 'get a win', in the sense that the payout far exceeds what you put in. Insurance is just gambling really, with everyone hoping something won't happen. The person insured hopes they won't get crippled, and the insurance company hopes they won't have to pay out.

Keeping a £10 million policy down to £30 a year is amazing, even if it is ultimately bullshit - the incentive to us is to keep the cost down, by reducing risk to ourselves and others, and thus not risking the massive payout that would bankrupt BCA. The incentive to the insurance company is to keep seducing people to give them money by offering to help out when things go wrong. I'm no number-juggler like our esteemed Treasurer, but I suspect there is always enough money in the pot - I guess the odds of 'the business' may be roughly that of a roulette-wheel?
 

alanw

Well-known member
A few years ago, a university climbing club went to a wall. A climber fell, his fall wasn't arrested, he fractured a vertebra and is now paraplegic. He sued the belayer for £200,000 and won his case. I understand the claim was paid by the BMC's insurers.
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
It's not great that the BCA can't sing it's praises so it's members know why the membership fee is worth it.
I would expect someone to bring up the dreaded Publicity officer shenanigans of a few years ago though.

AG, slippery slope argument not forgiven ;-)
 

marsrat

Member
Isn't that the case with all insurance everywhere though? Statistically, I suspect most people paying insurance 'lose their money' - in the sense that nothing bad ever happened, and so they never made a claim, and just paid off their premium. It's much rarer for something bad to happen, and you 'get a win', in the sense that the payout far exceeds what you put in. Insurance is just gambling really, with everyone hoping something won't happen. The person insured hopes they won't get crippled, and the insurance company hopes they won't have to pay out.

Keeping a £10 million policy down to £30 a year is amazing, even if it is ultimately bullshit - the incentive to us is to keep the cost down, by reducing risk to ourselves and others, and thus not risking the massive payout that would bankrupt BCA. The incentive to the insurance company is to keep seducing people to give them money by offering to help out when things go wrong. I'm no number-juggler like our esteemed Treasurer, but I suspect there is always enough money in the pot - I guess the odds of 'the business' may be roughly that of a roulette-wheel?
Appreciate the reply, I'm aware of how insurance works. Again, my issue (which nobody ever seems to comment on in this thread but rather assume I'm anti-BCA and prefer to engage on a spiel against viewpoints I never had) is forcing BCA members to have said insurance AND creating a status quo of insurance being a requirement to enter British caves leaving us beholden to a commercial entity.
I'm just going to retract myself from this thread at this point as it just seems to have devolved into something completely different from what it was originally made for (and tbh I've made my viewpoint clear enough multiple times).

As a final statement, I am not anti-BCA; I am pro-BCA. I am only anti-forcing-people-to-buy-insurance.
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
Yep I guess if there was a competitive caving league it would make sense for there to be some insurance. But there's not.

Perhaps I'm just being an interfering busybody or totally missing a crucial point, and if that's the case I'm happy to be told as much.
Doesn't have to be competitive. If someone's coming with you on a trip, and they're less experienced than you, then you'll be calling the shots on things. Fell running was a parallel to us, but I failed to consider the differences with it being competitive. Another use of our friend Google does draw direct parallels from our friends in Australia https://www.smh.com.au/national/fun-walks-banned-as-clubs-lose-insurance-20020622-gdfe16.html

and the ensuing arguments which led to the Civil Liability Amendment (Personal Responsibility) Bill 2002


So either you want insurance or you want someone to lobby government on your behalf to ensure we have a similar law passed in the UK, and in the process pay both insurance and the costs of taking something like this to people who can implement law. It strikes me that something like this is right up your alley Hannahb, you know we could have waivers rather than public liability. But then you're stuck on the flipside of this in a parallel universe where someone's gone caving without a waiver and caused some damage or an incident.

PS. Soooorrrry IB, I'll take my slippery slide and put it in peak cavern.
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
Yep I guess if there was a competitive caving league it would make sense for there to be some insurance. But there's not.
I don't think fell running events have insurance because they're competitive, they have it because they're organised by somebody, and the organisers may be sued if a runner comes to harm. A club caving meet is the same.

But certainly, if you're caving and a boulder moves when you touch it, then falls down the pitch and injures someone, then even if you did nothing wrong, you could be sued.
 

Rachel

Active member
But certainly, if you're caving and a boulder moves when you touch it, then falls down the pitch and injures someone, then even if you did nothing wrong, you could be sued.
People who don't want insurance - imagine something like this happened and it was a close friend who was injured badly enough that they could no longer work. Would you not be left feeling guilty that you could have been in a position for them to make an insurance claim, but you chose not to be?
 
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JoshW

Well-known member
is forcing BCA members to have said insurance AND creating a status quo of insurance being a requirement to enter British caves leaving us beholden to a commercial entity
In fairness not all people within the BCA believe you should be a BCA member in order to access caves (myself included).
 

JoshW

Well-known member
Would you not be left feeling guilty that you could have been in a position for them to make an insurance claim, but you chose not to be?
Not to be pernickety but the injured party wouldn’t make a claim under the policy.

The injured party would sue the person liable (irrespective of insurance or not) and if they had insurance this would cover their liabilities.

Having or not having insurance doesn’t change someone’s ability to be liable for incidents, and not having insurance certainly doesn’t stop someone from being able to sue you.

Likewise even with insurance backing me up, I can’t imagine being sued to be a particularly enjoyable experience, so I try to avoid it at all costs
 

Rachel

Active member
We all try to be as safe as possible, but accidents can happen, which is why we have to have car insurance, professional indemnity insurance etc.
I certainly wouldn't want to be sued, but say I was and the injured party were awarded a million. Without insurance, I would go bankrupt and they would get all of my money, which is a lot less than a million. With insurance, that liability is covered and they do get the million. Either way, it would be a horrible experience that I would rather avoid, but if me accidentally kicking a rock onto my mate's head resulted in her being left disabled, I'd prefer that I kept my house and the insurance covered the million her family sued me for to replace her lost income.
 

Fjell

Well-known member
This is not accident insurance. There have been many incidents over the years and the insurance has never been invoked as far as I am aware. it cannot be relied upon for “widows and orphans“. At one point I had life and critical illness insurance that covered caving. It was a hell of a lot more expensive than BCA insurance.
 

Fjell

Well-known member
My wife once made a poster at work showing the wife and kids sobbing over a hospital bed. It was to try and get people to put less faith in God and more on their driving standards. It was deemed rather shocking, not sure how long it lasted. But you get the idea. Afterwards is not the time to be doing something.
 

mikem

Well-known member
Last year's AGM reports give a reasonable idea of what they've been up to (inc. CRoW):
 

hannahb

Active member
People who don't want insurance - imagine something like this happened and it was a close friend who was injured badly enough that they could no longer work. Would you not be left feeling guilty that you could have been in a position for them to make an insurance claim, but you chose not to be?
If I remember correctly, you go rock climbing. Do you have liability insurance for that?
 

Bob Mehew

Well-known member
Regarding insurance, please read the attached. It came from the BCA web site in 2007 and was a major driver in our work to set up BCA. I will also repeat that we decide back then that the effort to present BCA as a seller of insurance (which is the only way to make insurance optional) was beyond our capacity so we could only provide it as a membership benefit. Hence the associate route to joining the BCA.

And I will quote the words "Associate members may not qualify for access to most access-facilitated UK caves in the way that full group members do, depending on the specific wording of individual access agreements (which are outside of BCA’s control)." taken from BCA web site. So if you want access whilst not having insurance / membership, then go and get those access arrangements changed.
 

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ChrisB

Well-known member
I will also repeat that we decide back then that the effort to present BCA as a seller of insurance (which is the only way to make insurance optional) was beyond our capacity so we could only provide it as a membership benefit.
That's a very good point. I believe it would still be beyond the capacity of BCA. To sell insurance (rather than providing it as a membership benefit) requires authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority, which is quite complex. A technical infringement of the FCA's rules can result in authorisation being withdrawn.
 
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