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Legal liability of bike clubs and their officers

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by rsser, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Can anyone advise on this?

    I understand that incorporation limits liability for compensation to club assets but does not protect individual members for liability for compensation due to breach of duty of care, negligence etc.

    Some sport/rec clubs insure for public liability.

    I wonder if any club officers have looked into this, and taken out insurance (covering eg. member injury, public liability, prof. indemnity etc).

    There is the issue as well of ride organisers/leaders' duty of care to participants.

    I'm inquiring on behalf of the Motorcycle Sports Touring Club of Vic.

  2. I was on a committee of a boat club and all office bearers were insured against public liability and the club.
    You must do it to protect the office bearers otherwise they can be sued personally. It was only about $50 per year per officer. Don't really know all the in and outs, but this is a starting point for you.
  3. You will find it cost prohibitive for a motorcycling club. The community focused insurance agencies and underwriters exclude motorcycling and motorsports clubs from their policies (amongst many others), and the private insurers will want exhoborant fee's. Protecting against negligence by club officials and volunteers for on-road motorcycling is considered risky, and the policy charges (or lack of policies available) reflects this.

    Community focused (not for profit) insurance groups that won't insurance bike clubs...


    Private insurer you can try...

    Best bet is to try the Public Liability Information Service, Melbourne (03) 9629 4109 or 1300 363 683.

    Would be interested in hearing about the outcome of your checking :)
  4. Get cover. Small cost to pay for peace of mind.
  5. Thanks Jason.

    Yes, I'd kind of expected insurance wasn't going to be easy or cheap.

    I guess the basic task is to manage the risks associated with the club's duty of care to riders and the public.

    And the key question is: is a club officer protected by incorporation from personal liability?

    Edit: thanks Steve ... guess that means no.
  6. Try about $3000 a year for public liability in-sewer-ants.

    I made a dozen different phone calls before I found someone that would give me a quote.

  7. I'm no expert but I would try an Insurance Broker who can place the policy with an insurer overseas.
  8. I wonder what sort of liability you accept when waving corner flags at kids moto races, there is no fun to be had with this threat hanging over your head constantly these days.
  9. Thanks Vic.

    What liabilities were you looking to cover?
  10. When I was involved with the incorporation of a club about 10 years ago, it was explained to me that the whole purpose of incorporation was to protect the members from being sued. Rather, a plaintiff could only sue the association to the limit of its assets.

    So, in that respect, the individuals should be OK. Of course, there's nothing to stop someone suing the club and an individual. It just remains to be seen how far they get in court.

    But having said that, an incorporated association should have insurance. And some organisations require it - eg: a sporting club that wishes to belong to an umbrella org.

    Really, if you're setting this up on behalf of a club, it would be money well spent if you spoke to your club's legal officer, if it has one. Usually, it's the solicitor who helps you become an incorporated association.

    If your activities are limited to rides, such as what Netrider etc. do on public roads, then I can't see why you would require insurance. Any on-road activities are covered by the individual's own insurance, whether this be compulsory third party (TAC) or property insurance.

    I think that we had this discussion elsewhere on Netrider. Perhaps you should look for that thread.

    I've sought professional advice on this matter, when it was raised in the newsgroup aus.motorcycles a few years ago. I organise a lot of weekend trips away, mainly with mates, workmates, etc.. Someone suggested that I may be liable if say, Fred the Fitter from work cleans up a 'roo on the Reefton and his widow sues me because I organised the ride.

    The advice that I was given that the widow could try, as can anyone. The court, when accepting the papers for the suit would decide at that point if the case had merit. Then, of course, it's up to the jury afterwards.

    But his view was that I shouldn't be liable for any individual's actions on a public road, where the requirement to be on that road is that you're on a bike that's registered and have a current licence.

    I would imagine that Jason and Vic would have researched this, particularly as there are a few Netrider rides, and some of them are quite big. Not being incorporated, if something happened, their liability would be limited to the extent of their assets (house, bike, etc..) if some scab was able to sue them because of something that the individual should have been solely responsible for.
  11. We were going to have a stall at the Cranbourne GP run this year but the City of Casey demanded that we hold pubic liability in-sewer-ants.

    All I wanted was insurance for the 1 day in the event that we caused the world to blow up.

    They werent interested in doing a 1 day policy, asked for a week, they said $3000 a year, told them to shove it.
  12. I asked about this at Church tonight.
    They are incoorporated.
    In their case, running four ride/track days a year, they need to pay for insurance and its about $3500.
    The office bearer mentioned that if not for the track days, they would be less likely to carry insurance.

  13. I came across this the other day,

    not sure if it's legite or not , but you might want to check it out

    Insurance Idea
  14. There are a couple of insurance companies that will offer insurance to road riding groups at an (almost) reasonable cost.

    They require condtions similar to those listed on the MRAA web site, and they require that the leaders and followers wear clear indication of their status (marked reflective vest for example).

    In addition it is required that all rides be conducted in a legal manner (think BMW club rides 100 kph max).

    If you organise the insurance then don't meet the conditions then I suspect you wouldn't be covered anyway.
  15. FWIW the MRAA has PL insurance through QBE, we used a broker. I can recommend a broker if you like, can't guarantee any results. Not sure what it costs us but since Osama bin Laden done his stuff the insurance industry has been cashing in big time.

    I was involved with a pushbike group once that was looking to get PL insurance thourgh the community schemes that Jason mentioned, they wouldn't even touch us unless it was some ludicrous sum (that we ended up paying with help from local council).