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Insurance for the outdoor industry - an introduction

How-to, OtherJames Hipkiss

The following is a basic guide to insurance that might be required in an outdoors business based in the UK. These different types of insurance can be purchased as individual policies or more commonly be grouped together on a package or combined policy.

The decision to buy them individually or collectively and what covers you require will very much depend upon your particular business and the cover should be adapted to fit your needs. Clearly the needs of an individual freelancer will differ from a multi site international business but the basics are the same.

Public Liability (PL)

This covers your business if a member of the public is accidentally injured or their property is damaged and you or you business is accused of negligence. A standard public liability policy will exclude most activities undertaken in the outdoor industry, so you should ensure your cover includes injury to participants and if it includes injuries caused by one participant to another. If you own premises you will need to check if the policy includes liability as a property owner.

Products Liability

This covers you if something you supply causes injury or damage. This can include anything you sell, supply or produce, including food.

Employers Liability (EL) Employers Liability covers you if an employee is injured at work and your business is accused of negligence. An employee can include part time, unpaid and volunteer staff. This is one of the few insurances that is required by law. If you have employees then it is compulsory (there certain exceptions where this cover is not required). Professional Indemnity (PI) This will defend you if you are accused of making a mistake, error or omission in advice, training, coaching, design or testing.

Equipment This insures your portable items against perils such as theft or damage. Contents This insures your premises based contents, equipment and furniture against perils such as theft or damage. Stock This insures your premises based stock against perils such as theft or damage. If you have seasonal fluctuations in stock then this can be accommodated. If you have stock that is temperature controlled then this needs to be specified.


This insures your building against perils such as theft or damage. If you require cover for glass or subsidence these may need to be specified. Do not forget to include outdoor structures such as playing surfaces, high ropes courses and floodlights if you require them covering.

Tenants Improvements

If you rent the building you occupy and have improved the property with things such as partitions, carpets, wiring, etc., then you need to insure them against perils such as theft or damage as they are unlikely to be covered by the landlords insurance.

Business Interruption (BI)

If your business suffers a loss from a peril such as damage or theft then your other covers may repair or replace the loss but your club will suffer from disruption. For example, a serious fire could close a business for years. Business Interruption insurance is designed to maintain your income or pay additional costs so that your company survives. Cover can be extended to cover interruption to other areas that might be vital to your business such as utilities and rental income.


This covers theft of or damage to money Goods In Transit This covers items being transported. Cover can extended to cover items in storage. Directors Officers (DO) / Committee Members Trustees Even if your business is limited the directors or committee have unlimited personal liability for the actions they take in its running. Accusations of failing in these duties can come from regulatory bodies, government departments, customers, employees or other committee members. Personal Accident This will pay a lump sum if a customer or employee is killed or permanently injured or a weekly sum if they are temporarily injured. Legal Expenses This will cover claims for the costs of various legal disputes. Travel This will give your staff travel insurance for eventualities such as medical assistance, cancellation, repatriation, etc.

Cyber Liability

This can protect against costs of incidents such as loss, theft or distortion of data, viruses, hacking, breach of confidentiality, etc. Engineering / Computer Breakdown This can cover the costs of repair to equipment or computers, additional costs of working, reinstatement of data and lost income.

Engineering Inspection

This provides the statutory inspections required for machinery such as lifts, compressors and hoists. Although this is not an insurance policy it is often available alongside insurance.

Environmental Liability

This will cover against claims for the costs of cleaning up and reinstating after a pollution event that you are responsible for or that occurs on your property. Motor Another compulsory class of insurance. Make sure your insurance covers you for what the vehicle is being used for, for example a private car policy may not cover you if you drive it for work. Also remember the legal requirement to cover vehicles such as fork lifts and tractors.

Prize Indemnity

If you hold a competition, such as kick to hit the bar or golf hole in one, you can offer an expensive prize in the comfort that you insurance policy will pay out in the event of a winner.

Event Cancellation

If you have to cancel a fixture or event for a reason beyond your control, such as extreme weather, power failure, non appearance of key personnel, transport disruption, disease, etc., then you can insure against expenses and lost income.

Tour Operators Liability

The Package Travel Regulations can make it necessary for a business that arranges a travel or activity package lasting over 24 hours to take insurance cover to protect customers should some or all aspects of the package fail. If you take people away on trips this might be compulsory.

Kidnap Ransom

This is designed to reimburse ransom costs and pays for specialists to negotiate, deliver the ransom and recover the victim.To give you peace of mind, save you time and save you money speak to in independent insurance broker who understands the outdoor industry and deals with a wide range of insurance companies. Ask them to give you advice and a quote that fits you and your business.Author - Duncan Sutcliffe became an insurance broker in 2003, prior to that he was an outdoor instructor for over 10 years. www.mannbroadbent.co.uk 01905 612336"