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 Important Excerpts from the BCA Insurance FAQ

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PostSubject: Important Excerpts from the BCA Insurance FAQ   Mon 27 Apr 2009, 6:09 am

Thought it useful to share these important points from the BCA's insurance FAQ. The full document can be found at:

4 Q: What does the policy cover?
A: The policy has been specifically worded to cover all normal activities of cavers and caving clubs, and mining history organisations and their members, including cave diving and the use of explosives. In short, this scheme ensures that if any one sues you or your club, you won’t have to pay legal expenses and damages out of your own pocket. Further details may be found in the separate ‘synopsis of cover’ and detailed policy documents which can be found on line at

6 Q: What is the limit of indemnity?
A: The limit of indemnity is £2 million plus legal costs for each successful claim.

7 Q: What is the claims excess?
A: The policy has an excess of £5000 on each claim for normal caving incidents, and £10,000 for incidents involving the use of explosives. However, subject to available funds, BCA will pay for all but the first £2500 of any claim excess.

10 Q: Does the policy include member to member cover?
A: Yes..

11 Q: Is the use of mechanical equipment such as man-riding winches covered?
A: Yes, so long as they are subject to adequate inspection and operational procedures.

34 Q: Why should non-caving members of clubs have to pay for insurance?
A: Non caving members of clubs also benefit from the insurance since it covers non-caving activities such as meetings, conferences, training and other activities. Non-caving club members are at just as much risk from a third party claim as caving members since in law they have joint and several liability for the club’s actions. In fact since some of them may be older and possibly richer than their younger and more active counterparts, they may actually have more to lose!

35 Q: What defines the difference between a caver and a non caver? Would, for instance, a person who went digging
or was involved in water tracing experiments but who never goes underground be a caver or a non-caver for the purposes of paying their contribution? A: BCA is not in a position to produce a legally watertight definition of who is a caver and who is not. Even if we did, all that will do is provide further opportunities for people to wriggle off the hook if they are that way inclined. A caving activity is one which requires special gear or clothing, but this a matter of good faith and common sense. The more things people do along the lines suggested in the question, the more they are benefiting from the cover. Digging is a caving activity, as is water tracing, and people should be prepared to pay the caving member rate to be covered for it whether they go underground or not. If someone turns up at their surface dig wearing normal clothing just so that they can argue that they are a 'non-caver' within the definition we have set, then they are not acting in good faith and their cover would be affected.

37 Q: Can a caving club insure only part of its membership?
A: No, if the club wants insurance for club risks (e.g. decisions of officers, club meets, etc) then it must insure all of its members as either cavers or as non-cavers.

38 Q: If my club only pays to insure all its committee members and officers as cavers, will they then be covered if
someone makes a claim against the club even though the club as a whole is not covered? A: No. Apart from any legal considerations, this will be seen by BCA as an attempt to avoid paying the true costs of cover by the club concerned and hence an act of bad faith. In these circumstances neither the individuals nor the club will be covered for club risks.

39 Q: Why should club members have to become BCA members in order to become part of the insurance scheme?
A: The implication which this question is making is that the scheme includes a hidden cost which is the BCA subscription, and that the contribution is higher than it needs to be as a result. This is not the case. The fees paid by individual members of member clubs cover only the expected costs of the insurance, and if the scheme does make a surplus this will be used for the benefit of scheme members in future years. With or without the BCA membership, the cost to each individual would be the same.

40 Q: Why I should be ‘forced’ to join the BCA so I can be insured?
A: There are two reasons. Firstly, lack of a coherent national membership structure was cited as one of the primary reasons why we had trouble in obtaining cover in 2003. Secondly, regulations regarding the sale of insurance to private individuals make it impossible for organisations like BCA to sell insurance to non-members. This scheme gets round that problem without forcing club members to subscribe to any services they do not require.

43 Q: What business of BCA is it to be telling caving clubs who they can or cannot have as members?
A: We are not. The whole point about any club, and a caving club in particular, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. However, to gain the benefits that club membership will provide, people must sacrifice a degree of their individuality and autonomy. In the case of a caving club, the degree of sacrifice is a great deal less than in almost any other walk of life, but nevertheless the principle is universal. If the club decides it wants to be insured, then that is presumably because the majority of the members wish it so. This is simply another club 'rule' alongside any other, and if people do not wish to obey the rules that their club demands of them, Issued by: British Caving Association, The Old Methodist Chapel, Great Hucklow, Buxton, SK17 8RG. Tel. 01298 873810, e-mail: insurance@british-caving, 08D1633 then they are free to change those rules or to leave the club. This is not a matter for BCA to dictate to clubs, and we are not doing so. Neither is this some perverse decision on the part of BCA; it is simply a natural consequence of the structure of a club.

44 Q: Can club members who go caving opt to pay the higher ‘caver’ contribution, or pay the non caver contribution
and take the risk that they are not covered for caving activities in order to save money? A: No. There is no difference between the cover offered to caving and non-caving members – it is the same policy. The reason for the difference in contributions is because this is a fairer way of dividing up the cost of the insurance. People who go caving and want to be part of the PL scheme MUST pay the caver contribution..

52 Q: What other benefits do I get as a member of BCA?
A: So far as insurance is concerned, the cover is the same for Club members and Direct Individual members of the scheme but if you join BCA via a caving club, the extra benefits will be very limited in order to try to keep the cost as low as possible. The subscription for Direct Individual members of BCA costs more, but you will get extra benefits including publications and discounts on entrance to the annual conference etc.

55 Q: How do we insure temporary members (e.g. novices coming on their first caving trip)?
A: Clubs will automatically be covered for temporary members so long as they have paid for all of their normal members as either caving or non-caving members of the scheme. There is no a limit on the number of temporary members a club can take caving in any given year, but, see 56 and 57 below:

56 Q: How long does temporary member cover last?
A: Temporary members’ cover lasts for 17 consecutive days only (i.e. three weekends). It cannot be renewed. If people want cover for longer than this, they will be expected to join the scheme as a full member and pay the appropriate contribution.

57 Q: Will clubs still have to keep records of temporary membership?
A: Yes, the names and addresses of temporary members, and the dates on which they went caving, will need to be recorded and sent to BCA at or before the end of each year.

61 Q: If guests attend a club caving meet and they have BCA caving insurance through membership of another club
does this provide cover or do we have to take additional action? A: They are covered without further action being taken.

62 Q: Are explosives users expected to pay more?
A: Explosive users are covered without additional payment, but must belong to the EUG.

64 Q: Is the use of Hilti caps covered?
A: No.

66 Q: What is an ‘Access Controlling Body’?
A: An 'access controlling body' is one which arranges access to a particular site on behalf of the caving and mine exploration community. Such a body may or may not be the freeholder or leaseholder of the property in question.

67 Q: Can a caving/mine exploration club also be an Access Controlling Body?
A: Yes.

68 Q: Is a Regional Caving Council an Access Controlling Body?
A: Yes, if there are any access agreements which are arranged in its name, but note that Regional Caving Councils do not pay to be members of BCA.

69 Q: What is the fee for insurance for an Access Controlling Body?
A: Please see the relevant proposal forms on the BCA web site at

70 Q Does an Access Controlling Body have to pay any additional fee for the members of its controlling committee,
or for its leaders or wardens? A: No. It is assumed that the majority of the personnel involved in an Access controlling body will be personally insured by virtue of their membership of the scheme by another route (i.e. Direct Individual or Club membership) and this is why there are no separate fees for the individual leaders/wardens or members of any controlling committee. However, a linkage with an access controlling body will only provide cover for duties associated with that body, and this cannot be used as a means for individuals to obtain cover for other caving activities without paying the appropriate fee. Individual membership cards will not be issued to access controlling bodies who are not also a properly constituted caving club which has insured all its members.

71 Q: My club controls access to one or more sites and we need cover as an Access Controlling Body. Can we just pay
the relevant fee instead of insuring ourselves as a caving club and having to pay individually for each member? A: No. Your organisation is a caving club in the first instance and your position as an access body is only incidental to this. If a club wants insurance of any sort, all its members must buy into the scheme. This is partly for the legal reasons outlined elsewhere, but also because we are paying a huge premium for this cover and we have to bring reasonable pressure on the people who benefit from it to pay their share towards the cost.

73 Q: Our club has negotiated access to some old mines with the landowner and has fitted gates at their request.
However, we do not issue keys – these are obtained from the landowner directly and the landowner has not asked us for any indemnity. Are we an Access Controlling Body? A: No.

74 Q: Does the cover include indemnity for landowners?
A: Yes, landowner indemnity is included.

75 Q: Will landowner indemnity certificates be available and if so, how much will they cost?
A: Yes, documents which confirm cover for a particular site are available. Please contact the Membership Administrator if you need one.

76 Q: Our club is a climbing club, not a caving club. The climbers do not want to have to pay for the few members
who go caving. How can we get cover? A: All the caving members must join the BCA scheme either through the club or as Direct Individual members. They will then be insured, but the club will not be insured for club related caving risks.

80 Q: What is the period of the insurance (what dates are we covered for)?
A: The insurance runs from 1 January to 31 December of each year.

83 Q Are new members insured from the time that they join our club, or from when BCA receives their contribution?
A: They are insured from the time that they join your club.

84 Q: Say we run a caving trip and one of our non-caving members goes caving. Is every member’s cover null and
void? A: This must remain at BCA’s discretion. Certainly, any non-caving member who goes caving will not be covered for member to member and other caving related risks. However, BCA’s concern is to try to provide adequate cover for the whole caving community and to recover the costs of that cover from the people who use it. We are prepared to be flexible where we can, but if the activities of individuals appear to be aimed primarily at avoiding paying for the proper cover, we will take a hard line in order to avoid a few spoiling the scheme for the many who will participate in an open and honest fashion. caving clothing) then the non-caver contribution will cover this activity.

91 Q: Can you confirm that members who have paid the club but have not yet had their money passed on to BCA are still covered?
A: Yes, if members have paid their money in good faith, they will be covered.
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PostSubject: Re: Important Excerpts from the BCA Insurance FAQ   Mon 27 Apr 2009, 7:18 am

Excellent. Read and understood Smile

Release the Kraken .....
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