Whatever hobbies and interests individuals may have, the chances are that there is a club or society which exists to cater for their specific requirements. The bottom line is that those with overall responsibility for the running of clubs and associations of any kind have a duty of care that encompasses their members – and more besides.
The safety and wellbeing of club and society members and their personal belongings is of paramount importance to group leaders, but in actual fact, their responsibilities extend much further to include assistants and helpers (paid or unpaid) who provide services and support to the group. Leaders also have a responsibility to innocent bystanders in the form of the general public, plus the environments in which the club activities are carried out.
Some group leaders make a personal income and generate a profit from their clubs and societies. For others the giving of their time, effort and expertise is voluntary. In either scenario, leaders should think about their clubs and societies as being businesses, and treat them accordingly.
Just as is the case with various types of businesses, some clubs and societies are, by their very nature, more of a risky proposition than others. The essential differences between businesses and clubs/societies blur when claims are instigated against them. Whether misfortune befalls claimants as a result of business or pleasure, someone’s organisation is likely to be liable for compensation if claims are upheld. If the organisation has been remiss in securing public liability insurance, the results could be devastating. In simple terms, any club or society, irrespective of what activities it undertakes, should have public liability insurance. Whilst the perceived levels of risk can differ substantially, the unpredictable nature of accidents, damages, injuries, illness, even fatalities, makes risks just as real for a one man band as for a multinational company.
The very same risks apply to a club or society whether you are a debating society or a bungee jumping club! Unless your club operates and is run exclusively on-line, you will no doubt hold meetings, classes or events in a public place and incidents could possibly occur that would give cause for an injured party to instigate a claim. The golden rule is, quite simply, if your club or society involves, people, premises and property you MUST have insurance.
Employers liability is required if you have assistants to run the club or society – and this includes those whose help is given on a full-time, part-time, casual or voluntary basis. If they constitute your team, then these people are your responsibility whilst they are going about club or society business.
In short, you need to consider employers liability as well as public liability and, if you have a vehicle, either in the form of your own car or a society-owned vehicle, commercial
You might also wish to give thought to Event insurance – whilst a pony club gymkhana may not be the Grand National, it still has the propensity to involve accidents and damages. You will probably be dealing with hiring a venue and using suppliers – all of which involves money. If you are selling tickets to an event and you can’t meet your financial responsibilities, the outcome could be horrendous. Event insurance will allow you to guard against some of the most common problems such as:
Professional indemnity is important if you offer advice to people – especially important if you are working in the fields of health and fitness clubs and societies, dance, yoga, zumba and the like. Think outside the box too – imagine if you are running a DIY club and one of the members asks your advice on knocking down a wall. If, upon acting on your advice, the chap’s house falls down – you will then be very glad you have professional indemnity insurance!
As the leader of a club or society, it is your responsibility to ensure that suitable liability insurance is in place. It is likely that your club or society, including the premises and possessions it has acquired, is the result of a labour of love on behalf of many people. This is why insurance is so vital and offers protection and recompense for unforeseen misfortunes which may befall the club or society.