THE ROLE OF THE LAWYERS IN SPORTS INSURANCE POLICIES PART 3 - PICKNSTAKE.COM

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

THE ROLE OF THE LAWYERS IN SPORTS INSURANCE POLICIES PART 3


Authored by: Joshua Charalambous, Steven Aitken

General liability insurance

General liability insurance often covers employer's liability and public liability. UK companies are bound by law to have an employer’s liability policy in place which indemnifies policyholders for claims made against them due to death or bodily injury. Public liability insurance usually provides cover for compensation claims for injuries to third parties or damage to property. It is important because sporting events and sportspeople often interact with members of the public. Some general liability policies in the sporting context will exclude participant-to-participant claims.



Employer's liability reimburses compensation paid by employers who are liable for an accident to an employee arising out of the general course of employment. It should be noted that in a sporting context, this often extends to volunteers. This is a vital consideration for any organisers of events where volunteers play a key role. A recent estimate for the number of volunteers at the Rio Olympics was 50,000.6 Although 'employees' will include non-sporting staff who might suffer an injury whilst at work, the quantum would likely be higher if the same incident involved athletes and/or higher earning members of staff.



Any accident at a sporting event in the UK could result in an investigation by the regulatory authorities (the Local Authority or the Health and Safety Executive). The authorities will investigate circumstances or actual incidents which have caused or could cause injury. In the worst cases, this can result in a prosecution for the directors, which explains why we sometimes see these claims notified through D&O policies (see below). Most general liability policies will provide cover in respect of defence costs where there is a prosecution, but it is important to check the precise ambit of such cover, and whether it is subject to any sub limits. Note that it will not cover fines incurred, as a matter of public policy.



A particularly interesting example of where general liability insurance might kick in is the recent indication by the family of Jules Bianchi that they intend to bring legal action against Marussia, the FIA, and the Formula One Group. It is reported that the family claims errors made in the planning, timing, organisation and conduct of the race caused the accident which resulted in Bianchi dying of head injuries after his car crashed into a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.7

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