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BCA pros and cons

aricooperdavis

Moderator
Wouldn't you have to have acted negligently to be sued and for the BCA brokered insurance to pay out?
I only say this because I don't like the chilling effect that the fear of being sued has.

The law isn't out to get you, it's there to ensure that you are held to account if you behave irresponsibly.

I lead trips, and I therefore accept that I am adopting a level of responsibility for the safety of the people I'm leading. I can't make it perfectly safe, but I can communicate that I can't make it perfectly safe, so that participants are making an informed choice. I would expect leaders of trips that I'm on to do the same for me.
 
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ChrisB

Well-known member
It's worth noting that most clubs and associations offer a range of benefits to their members, and individual members vary in how much they value or use those benefits. Many caving clubs will have gear to lend to novices, ropes, a hut, etc - not all the members use all of these, but they're there if you want them.

The same is true of BCA. There's insurance, funding the regional councils, the BCRA library (which you don't have to be a member to use but wouldn't exist in its current form if BCA didn't help fund it), there are grants for expeditions, youth development, a legal case regarding CRoW, etc. Very few cavers use all the benefits, but (I hope) most feel that that those of the benefits they do use are worth the membership fee, and don't complain about the benefits they don't use.
 

paul

Moderator
Maybe to summarise what's been discussed so far:
  • Some caves require Public Liability Insurance (PLI) for access (as negotiated in local access agreements, not BCA)
  • The PLI also covers caving club officers from claims through club caving activities
  • BCA can provide this PLI as a membership benefit but cannot legally sell the insurance, so all members must have it by default
  • You don't have to be a member of a caving club to join the BCA and benefit from PLI as you can be a DIM
  • You don't have to be a member of BCA to go caving - but will probably have issues if the landowner or tenant requires PLI
Is this correct?
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
Wouldn't you have to have acted negligently to be sued and for the BCA brokered insurance to pay out?
You'd have to have been negligent to be sued successfully, but even if you weren't liable being sued for an amount that would ruin you is very stressful and could take years. If it happened to me, knowing that there was some insurance to avoid even the remote chance of losing my house would be very helpful.
 

cavetroll

Member
On a lighter note, I've seen more injuries by far, and more 'negligence', in caving hut games and yet we haven't scrabbled around to get insurance for "flaming couch olympics". I suspect your house is at greater risk there!

The insurance makes some people feel better, and maybe that is the major benefit. It will likely pay out for the first three large claims before the premiums become prohibitively expensive (BMC subs increased substantially after one recent large payout). How much money has the BCA paid to cover these three future poor souls? (We could probably just start a charity for injured cavers, pay the equivalent subs into it as a donation and then invite applications)

Public Liability Insurance makes loads of sense for huts, committee members, rescue teams, instructors, etc. It makes less sense for the majority of those caving with peers.

The landowner concerns are similarly interesting to consider. Have we ever claimed? I suspect regional councils would pay quite a lot of money to avoid a claim. They already fix gates, styles, walls, remove vehicle tracks after rescues etc - all foreseeable things that a landowner might get grumpy about. Likely answer; it makes them feel better, which isn't worthless I suppose.
 

JoshW

Well-known member
It will likely pay out for the first three large claims before the premiums become prohibitively expensive (BMC subs increased substantially after one recent large payout). How much money has the BCA paid to cover these three future poor souls? (We could probably just start a charity for injured cavers, pay the equivalent subs into it as a donation and then invite applications)
I’d be surprised if there was as many as three claims the policy could pay out (in a short period of time - but not within the same policy year) before becoming outrageously expensive .

As posted above, a recent claim for another NGB was over 12m. In the history of BCA the insurance so far there hasn’t been anywhere near this amount paid into the pot.

Irrespective of your proposed charity existing it isn’t going to stop someone who can’t work for the rest of their life suing someone who injured them by acting negligently.

Side note: I told myself I wouldn’t get dragged down into this thread, and yet here I am 😂
 

cavetroll

Member
Irrespective of your proposed charity existing it isn’t going to stop someone who can’t work for the rest of their life suing someone who injured them by acting negligently.

Sorry to side-track us into what was meant to be a slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion.. BUT

Whilst I agree it wouldn't prevent anyone from suing, this ignores the main reason why people sue in this context - the money. If someone sued me for example, they'd currently be very unlikely to even recover their costs let alone get any sizeable payout as I'm not insured and have extremely limited assets. If, conversely, I have a £20m public liability cover, they have potentially £20m to go at! A large incentive for no-win-no-fee lawyers.

Conversely a fund people could apply to without apportioning blame, would disincentivise legal action which can be life-ruining even if the case is dismissed!

PS Wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where apportioning blame isn't key to injured parties getting the physio they need to regain independent living?
 

Fjell

Well-known member
Sorry to side-track us into what was meant to be a slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion.. BUT

Whilst I agree it wouldn't prevent anyone from suing, this ignores the main reason why people sue in this context - the money. If someone sued me for example, they'd currently be very unlikely to even recover their costs let alone get any sizeable payout as I'm not insured and have extremely limited assets. If, conversely, I have a £20m public liability cover, they have potentially £20m to go at! A large incentive for no-win-no-fee lawyers.

Conversely a fund people could apply to without apportioning blame, would disincentivise legal action which can be life-ruining even if the case is dismissed!

PS Wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where apportioning blame isn't key to injured parties getting the physio they need to regain independent living?

New Zealand.


It solves a vast number of problems, not least liability for doctors.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
Sorry to side-track us into what was meant to be a slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion.. BUT

Whilst I agree it wouldn't prevent anyone from suing, this ignores the main reason why people sue in this context - the money. If someone sued me for example, they'd currently be very unlikely to even recover their costs let alone get any sizeable payout as I'm not insured and have extremely limited assets. If, conversely, I have a £20m public liability cover, they have potentially £20m to go at! A large incentive for no-win-no-fee lawyers.

Conversely a fund people could apply to without apportioning blame, would disincentivise legal action which can be life-ruining even if the case is dismissed!

PS Wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where apportioning blame isn't key to injured parties getting the physio they need to regain independent living?
This is why third part insurance is so important for unincorporated clubs. In the even of a claim, then the lawyers will go for the richest people in the club and try and prove negligence on the part of the club, its officers and members to collect from those with the most assets. Many clubs would cease to exist as some of their members would refuse to expose themselves to that risk. You might say that you wouldn't sue, but if you are incapacitated and needing round the clock care for life, then your family might well.
Typically no-fault insurance cover, which the BCA doesn't provide, or discretionary funds will be in the four, or five figure range. Liability cover and actual costs for a life changing injury are in the six and seven figure range. Orders of magnitude greater. Faced with those costs, liability claims are going to happen regardless and insurance cover will be a very good idea.
 

Pegasus

Administrator
Staff 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 ;-)
I'll bring it up as I have thought about posting on this thread for a while - on the pros and cons of being a BCA volunteer.

I was, never again. It was awful - shouted at and hounded out. There's plenty on here about it if you care to look.

In my opinion (as someone who has worked in sales and marketing for decades) BCA should of course have a publicity officer/marketing role, call it what you will - enabling BCA to communicate with its members, promote caving to the wider world etc etc. I was suited for the role due to my work experience, being a caver and to begin with genuine enthusiasm - however politics and getting myself and other forward thinking cavers out seemed more important than having a suitable volunteer to many on BCA council at the time. Change, oh no we can't have that.

For me, the cons of BCA are how horrid it was to volunteer for to the point I'd never, ever do it again. That must change so future volunteers have a more positive experience.

Pros? The logo's great 😉
 

aricooperdavis

Moderator
I'm so sorry that you had such an awful experience, Pegasus!

I don't know why it was a different experience for me, but I feel incredibly lucky with the opportunities that volunteering for the BCA gave me. I learnt so much about web development, system administration, cloud services etc. Granted, it was a lot of hard work, but it was also a superb opportunity.

That being said, I opted out of attending council meetings almost immediately (not having a vote), so that may have helped my experience of it!
 

JoshW

Well-known member
And for true balance, I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had from being on council, and haven’t had any actively negative experiences.

I would however be lying if I said I was totally engaged with the direction council has headed over the last couple of years, and took a step away from the bigger picture to focus on firstly y and d issues (operating somewhat as a lone wolf) and latterly my role as insurance manager.
 
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