Know Your Rights About Martial Arts Insurance

Time & time again we see instructors coming to us with all sorts of issues, concerns & genuine problems caused through Associations or Insurers lack of respect for their customer’s rights.

It’s also in part usually due to the customer rushing into agreements or payments without taking the time to research & check. This isn’t just a costly mistake short term, it can be prove to be catastrophic in the long run.

  • Golden Rules When Buying Any Insurance Policy;

    • Make sure you know who supplies the policy & who it’s underwritten by
    • Make sure you understand what the indemnity is and what that actually covers
    • Make sure you’ve checked policy details for minimum and maximum coverable ages
    • Check that your specific style is covered. Don’t except ‘close’ variants.
    • Make sure you receive an insurance certificate with the insurance companies credentials on it – if your association offers you insurance documents with their own letter heads they should also be able to provide you with the genuine or original documents also, unless it’s part of a group cover policy.
  • It’s really important that before entering any agreements or prior to purchasing any insurance policy or product that you understand exactly what you’re covered for and exactly what you’re not. Often insurers are very vague about exactly what is included in a policy. This is part due to them not fully understanding our industry & martial arts as a whole. This can pose massive potential problems for you both legally and professionally should anything go wrong.

    It’s not just now either – claims can come back to haunt you many, many years in advance. The policy you use for your instruction today will stick with you forever and should anything go wrong, with insurance claims easily mounting into tens of thousands of pounds, you really do want to make sure you’ve got sufficient cover in place & that what you’re doing is within the remits of the policy.

    It’s important also to remember that very few (if any) martial arts associations will be registered insurance agents themselves. This costs huge amounts of money and involves incredible amounts of compliance, record keeping and regulation. If you’re not sure, just ask if they’re registered with the FSA or FCA – they should have a registration number which you can check from the FSA database here.

    Any company, organisation or association claiming to provide the insurance direct themselves should be able to provide a registration number with the FSA or FCA. If they can not, they’re not registered. Simple as.

It’s become customary for Associations to provide insurance for their members and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It’s a very grey area with few solid details for anyone to work off and, let’s face it – it’s much easier if your Association takes care of things.

The only real concern should be that if you have an accident and someone takes legal action against you and your policy falls through, has expired, isn’t valid or isn’t accurate you will be footing the legal and financial repercussions – not your association.

That’s why we recommend instructor’s take out their own individual instructor cover policies that protect themselves regardless of whether or not they’re teaching a class which is registered to their Association.

Many Associations can offer student, event and even instructor cover from a group cover policy. This is effectively when an Association approaches an insurer and purchases cover for their own body in bulk. This will cover often member to member liability (student cover), events (with an excess) and sometimes even instructor cover.

These policies can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds & it’s rarely worth while for an instructor or club to purchase such a heavy weight policy, however when any part of that policy is resold to you, the consumer, the association or organisation doing so becomes an insurance agent, broker or retailer. This is often illegal and many associations unknowingly fall foul of this rule year after year.

Associations can instead offer ‘membership’ – either student or instructor, and include insurance within the cost. This is a great work around but you should still take some time to ensure the right level of cover is included with the ‘membership’.

If you take out any type of cover – instructor, student or event make sure you know who provides the insurance policy and who it’s underwritten by. Many associations will pass your details onto the provider to form the policy & hand the documents back to you. If that’s the case it should be painfully clear before you purchase the policy. You should also be given the option of going direct to the insurer yourself.

If you’re ever in any doubt about a policy, provider or the terms & conditions / small print you should without hesitation contact the association, business or insurer providing the product. Any association, organisation or business should be more than happy to discuss your concerns & make you feel welcome whilst doing so. If they can’t be bothered to respond or don’t seem to know what they’re talking about think twice about using their policy. Also, if prices seem too good to be true they most probably are.

Remember, common sense & research can solve most of these issues. Be smart and do your homework before purchase, otherwise it could be alot more than just a hefty policy price you’ll loose out on.

Regardless of which policy you choose & from who it’s offered you should also check the claims information and the procedure for doing so, just encase.