Must Look To Safety, Says SEIB
insurance becoming more difficult and expensive
liability insurance could become difficult to get in coming months
- and the situation could pose a threat to riding schools and livery
situation is a result of high awards being made by the courts, coupled
with shock waves from the terrorist attack on New York's twin towers.
Insurance companies are now viewing liability cover with much more
care than ever before and some high-profile companies are even pulling
out of the market altogether. Riding Schools, livery yards and other
equestrian businesses with bad claims records could find premiums
rocketing - or be uninsurable.
today could result in courts awarding damages running into millions
of pounds," says Barry Fehler, managing director of South Essex
Insurance Brokers, one of the few companies still able to arrange
this type of cover. "It has not been helped by people being
encouraged to resort to litigation, but the two situations together
have resulted in a quite serious closing down of this market."
the future, it is likely to be only insurers with a large volume
of liability business who will be willing to take on new clients,
and even they will be examining renewals more closely than ever
schools, and if DEFRA minister Elliot Morley pursues his comments
on widening licensing laws, livery yards, would also need public
liability insurance to continue trading.
means that businesses, and these two in particular, will be forced
to look more closely at safety practices. "I am not suggesting
that it will be impossible to get this cover, but a business which
has had claims which reflect on their management could well find
premiums rising dramatically, and in extreme cases, becoming uninsurable,"
said Mr Fehler.
assessment exercises, where a business examines every aspect of
its operation, will become increasingly important. Proprietors will
need to look at day to day activities, staff routine and building
and office layout in an attempt to predict and eliminate hazardous
areas - and document the checks, which should be made at least once
Bacon, lecturer in equine business management at Warwickshire College,
commented: "Insurance is obviously an area of concern, and
again emphasises the need for people in the sector to face up to
the professionalism in business matters required today. The industry
has a wide range of managerial competence, but sadly, the old adage
of horses and water applies to some of those most needing help."
Doran, administration manager of Riding Schools/Approvals at The
British Horse Society, stresses the need to show an anticipation
for problems. "We can offer advice and help to businesses,"
she says. "I cannot advise too strongly on the need for an
attention to detail, right down to recording any incident in the
accident/incident book, which is now compulsory under Health and
Essex Insurance Brokers is also able to offer advice. "We will
continue to offer public liability cover, but clients will be made
aware of the industry climate and encouraged to do everything possible
to reduce the possibility of claims," said Mr Fehler