Author Topic: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance  (Read 1098 times)

Offline Bob Mehew

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1346
  • breaking knots is fun
Quote from: darren link=topic=26294.msg320949#msg320949 date=1586289913 on original thread
I'm not old enough to remember, or connected enough to check.

But I believe the insurance claim mentioned in

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_Leer

Resulted in a cliam against the for runner of the BCA type insurance.

Happy to be corrected.
I can recall two potential claims.  One was the Lamb Lear event which resulted in an out of court settlement between the insurance company and the injured party.  The other was for a cow falling down an entrance at Reyfad, Fermanagh.   Not sure if that was settled out of court. 

The first was the wake up call to clubs when it was realised that every individual member of a club was liable for any claim.  (The Lamb Lear claim was based on an alleged injury causing the loss of income plus a need to be cared for of a under 18 year old and was reckoned to be well above the sum insured plus the value of the club's assets.  So the named parties included not just the club but also it was said about 6 members who happened to be wealthy but had bugger all to do with the trip.)  Hence many clubs decided they must have insurance to protect members who had no direct involvement in the accident.  The legal changes to selling insurance around 2000 made it difficult to sell insurance as the BCRA did up to 2003.  So part of the reason for BCA and individual membership was the provision of insurance as a BCA membership benefit which got round the law.   

Offline 2xw

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
  • BPC, SUSS
Why are individual members liable rather than the club as a body? Why isn't there a "club insurance" rather than each individual member?
Presumably this only applies where the club (or members) are evidently negligent (as per lamb leer) and not in cases of accident?

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
  • Mendip Caving Group
Most clubs were originally set up that everyone effectively had "shares" in the group (share of benefits / liabilities) - some still are. If the club don't have a sensible policy for how their trips are run, then the committee could be seen to be liable. If they do have, & that guidance wasn't followed, then the senior members on trip may be...

That's one reason there is now club insurance (& why Mark Wright shouldn't pull his club out of BCA):
https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=legal_insurance:bca_club_insurance_-_why_bother.pdf

Offline al

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 457
Why are individual members liable rather than the club as a body? Why isn't there a "club insurance" rather than each individual member?
Presumably this only applies where the club (or members) are evidently negligent (as per lamb leer) and not in cases of accident?

Because, unless they "incorporate" (i.e. become limited companies) clubs are not seen as legal entities, cannot hold property and cannot sign contracts (they need holding trustees to do these things) - and all members are "jointly and severally" responsible for any financial liabilities.

The "jointly & severally" bit means that creditors may come after any or all the members in pursuit of a settlement, and would usually pick the more well-off, but this isn't guaranteed.

Insurance is a form of protection against this, but incorporation is probably the only answer if you're really worried - there are some clubs who have done this.
Old ... but not old enough to know any better

Offline Mark Wright

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 806
  • NCC, BBPC
Most clubs were originally set up that everyone effectively had "shares" in the group (share of benefits / liabilities) - some still are. If the club don't have a sensible policy for how their trips are run, then the committee could be seen to be liable. If they do have, & that guidance wasn't followed, then the senior members on trip may be...

That's one reason there is now club insurance (& why Mark Wright shouldn't pull his club out of BCA):
https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=legal_insurance:bca_club_insurance_-_why_bother.pdf

Insurance policies shouldn't be taken out to allow continued incompetent behaviour though. Lessons should be learned from the accident and, as you suggest, a sensible policy for how caving and climbing trips are run in the future should be developed and then implemented. There is usually little or no cost implication to mitigate against any future occurrence. 

Equipment and techniques have moved on a lot in the past 46 years since the Lamb Leer incident, which, other than the recent BMC claim which I don't think anyone in the BMC or the BCA have any details on other than the limited information provided by our insurance company, is the only incident we continually use as justification for having the policy.

For one, we don't wrap an old washing line around our waists and call it a safe system of work and we don't use Thompson Knots to make our own harnesses or put ourselves into situations where a fall could take place onto a waist belt made from an old length of seat belt or use Italian Hitches as belay devices! Or do some still do that sort of thing?

Actually, thats just reminded me of the 2018 draft guidance I saw for the BCA Local Cave & Mine Leader Level 1: Ropework award. So yes, some do still do that sort of thing.

One thing is for sure, BCA definitely don't need to spending at least £10K of its members money on an insurance policy for the next 3 months of lockdown. Taking the Welsh Government to Judicial Review would have cost significantly less than £10K.

Maybe we should be asking our current insurance providers for a rebate, or are they one of those who are saving their reserves for paying their shareholders a big dividend at the end of the month, as reported this morning?

Mark 


Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
  • Mendip Caving Group
Although it sounds like a lot of money, it is less than £10 per person per year & the huts / clubs / landowners will still want to be covered, even if the majority aren't underground.

Offline Oceanrower

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Speak for yourself. I still use an Italian hitch and, in fact, it's also one of the permitted ways to belay when "bell-ringing" kids' groups at a wall I work at.

Offline Mark Wright

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 806
  • NCC, BBPC
Although it sounds like a lot of money, it is less than £10 per person per year & the huts / clubs / landowners will still want to be covered, even if the majority aren't underground.

It not only sounds like a lot of money, it IS a lot of money.

Hut insurance is not what we are talking about here. Huts need to be insured in case they, e.g. burn down or get broken into, but that is a different insurance policy altogether.

Nobody should be underground, not just the majority. I doubt any insurance company would even consider a claim from a club or individual ignoring the current lockdown.

As for landowners, I WANT to be at work, but we don't all get what we want.

Speak for yourself. I still use an Italian hitch and, in fact, it's also one of the permitted ways to belay when "bell-ringing" kids' groups at a wall I work at.

Good luck trying to defend yourself with that one if you let go the tail rope and drop the kid on the deck whilst at work. The HSE would likely throw the book at you.

Mark

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
  • Mendip Caving Group
Depending on the rope & weight of a child, the Italian hitch is less likely to slip than a standard belay device (& if the child is really light, it'll be safer than letting go on a Grigri)

Offline Mark Wright

  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 806
  • NCC, BBPC
Depending on the rope & weight of a child, the Italian hitch is less likely to slip than a standard belay device (& if the child is really light, it'll be safer than letting go on a Grigri)

It's not me you need to try and justify your selection of equipment and technique to, its the judge.

Mark

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
  • Mendip Caving Group
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2020, 01:23:50 pm »
Not bothered whether you're convinced, just stating that it's less likely to happen, when used with a child, than pretty much any other technique.

Offline Mike Hopley

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2020, 01:41:00 pm »
Genuine question, Mark -- given that you don't consider Italian hitches suitable for belaying in a cave, which belay options do you consider suitable?

(I'm assuming we're talking about a top-rope situation like electron ladders, not a lead-climb belay.)

Offline cavetroll

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2020, 02:48:12 pm »
Depending on the rope & weight of a child, the Italian hitch is less likely to slip than a standard belay device (& if the child is really light, it'll be safer than letting go on a Grigri)

It's not me you need to try and justify your selection of equipment and technique to, its the judge.

Mark

It's this sort of thing that unnecessarily scares people. Of course you can use an Italian hitch, and implying that some judge is going to send you to prison BECAUSE you were using an Italian hitch is the sort of paranoid nonsense that puts people off interacting professionals in our field. As long as what you've chosen to do is appropriate, safe and effective and you have sufficient skill and experience to use it correctly, you can use a wide variety of techniques and devices.

Clearly if you drop someone using any device/method.. you're likely to end up in hot water. The answer isn't to make everyone buy a Petzl Rig, it's to ensure that people are made aware of the pros, cons and are adequately skilled.

Dragging us back in the general direction of the topic, Insurance also protects you when you've literally done nothing wrong. You don't need to have made a mistake or for an accident to have been your fault for a claim to arise and claims can be exceptionally expensive even if ultimately you're completely exonerated.

Offline Oceanrower

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2020, 03:55:02 pm »
Speak for yourself. I still use an Italian hitch and, in fact, it's also one of the permitted ways to belay when "bell-ringing" kids' groups at a wall I work at.

Good luck trying to defend yourself with that one if you let go the tail rope and drop the kid on the deck whilst at work. The HSE would likely throw the book at you.

Mark
[/quote]

Well, bearing in mind I'd have the support of the BMC, the ABC, NICAS providers, our highly qualified Technical Advisor, our head coach, our head instructor and the owners of the business, I'll take my chances...

Offline cavemanmike

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 615
  • ucet
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2020, 04:01:39 pm »
This thread is turning into a pissed contest, check your egos boys and girls

Offline andrewmc

  • BCA ind. rep.
  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 897
  • EUSS, BEC, YSS, SWCC...
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2020, 05:15:56 pm »
For one, we don't wrap an old washing line around our waists and call it a safe system of work and we don't use Thompson Knots to make our own harnesses or put ourselves into situations where a fall could take place onto a waist belt made from an old length of seat belt or use Italian Hitches as belay devices! Or do some still do that sort of thing?

Thompson knots for (emergency) abseils only has only just been removed from the Mountain Leader syllabus (I assume it's still on the MIA syllabus); use of a rope tied around the waist for confidence on steep ground is still included. Unless something has changed in the recent past, use of a pair of Italian hitches is standard on what was the Single Pitch Award (one tied off on the abseil line, one for belaying the safety line) and the user would be expected to release and lower on that Italian hitch during the assessment.

Italian hitches are apparently also quite common in Germany for some reason. I have also read claims that they actually provide more braking force than standard climbing belay plates.

If you were belaying someone in a wall with a non-locking device _as is standard in sport_ you would definitely get in trouble for dropping them, but not because you were using a non-locking device which is still standard. You could bring almost every MIA, MIC and mountain guide in the country to the court to support your case.

Perhaps one day it will not be, and perhaps your case might be the one that makes an effective change in the law, but at the moment non-locking devices are acceptable. There is, for example, no reliable locking belay device for half/twin ropes aimed at climbing (yes there are 'assisted braking' devices but nothing that you can let go on reliably like a GriGri - not that you should).

Getting back towards a previous point (if not the original one), I would not be happy being in a club with other people knowing that I was potentially liable for their stupidity.

Offline mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3635
  • Mendip Caving Group
Re: BCA secretary gives notice of standing down - Signficance of Insurance
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2020, 05:51:15 pm »
A Grigri also won't lock reliably - a small child, or someone leaning back gently onto the rope can allow it to slip, as it requires a jerk to activate (& another one to not bother holding on)...

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search