Insurance policies held on behalf of members
SACR has taken out both Employer’s Liability insurance and Public Liability insurance to cover SACR-organised events other than tower bell-ringing or events inside towers, as explained below in more detail. The policy is held with Ecclesiastical Insurance Ltd. The Certificate of Employers’ Liability Insurance can be viewed here.
SACR does NOT hold any policies relating to personal accident insurance. This was a deliberate decision based on professional advice: it would cover few situations not already protected, and likely duplicate cover members already have; it is administratively burdensome; and it would be expensive, necessitating a substantial increase in member subscriptions to fund.
In the domain of bell-ringing, insurers see a very low number of claims in the personal accident category, close to zero, and the liability insurance would cover most potential situations. If an accident is caused by the negligence of another party, then a claim for compensation could be brought against that party irrespective of whether you hold personal accident cover or not.
Members are advised that if you want insurance against being killed or injured while ringing, it is better to have your own Personal Accident policy that will cover you at all times, not only while ringing. That way you can be sure that the cover meets your needs and it would all round be better value for you.
SACR currently does not hold any portable property insurance because it has no relevant assets that do not in value exceed the typical excess amount for such policies.
Liability insurance – cover held
SACR members are volunteers and as such are considered to be “employees” in the context of liability insurance. Our insurance covers:
- Employers’ liability to a limit of £10,000,000;
- Public liability to a limit of £5,000,000;
- Trustees’ and management liability to a limit of £100,000.
Liability insurance – further explanation
Officers carried out a detailed analysis in 2021 of all situations where SACR or its members conceivably might be involved and assessed the exposure of the association for each one, with the aid of information from a relevant expert.
For simplicity, where we say here “church” this also includes other building owners such as a local council or a private organization or individuals; the principles are identical. Our key findings were:
- Nearly all imaginable tower bell-ringing activities would be covered by the insurance of the hosts of the bells.
- A building owner cannot avoid liability for negligence by putting up notices saying things like “you ring at your own risk”.
- The church insurance would cover any claim relating to ringers and ringing taking place in the building because ringers are classed as authorised volunteers at the church. Members of the local band approved by their tower captain/ringing master are authorised volunteers.
- Visitors become authorised volunteers at the church when they have permission to ring from the host church authorities or the band tower captain / ringing master delegated by the church. This would include any type of activity, e.g. ad hoc individuals ringing, outings, striking competitions, peals, training sessions.
- Maintenance work on the bells is covered as long as permission to do it has been obtained: you would thus be an authorised volunteer at the church. This would cover both local band members and others invited in from elsewhere to help.
- It is extremely likely that non-church bodies such as a Council or School will have cover levels equal to or more extensive than the churches.
Officers concluded that we needed to insure for association events that do not involve tower bell-ringing or are outside the churches.
- The potential gap in cover is for events such as treasure hunts, social activities, barbeques or similar that take place in other locations, outside of a church, or the likes of recruitment drives in local streets or shopping centres, where something could happen to a ringer, the venue, or a member of public passing or watching. For example, a display board falls over, a mini-ring topples on someone, a handbell flies out of someone’s hand and breaks a window.
- When it comes to the types of incident that would be covered by public liability, an SACR volunteer is legally regarded in the same way as an employee, not as a member of the public. For this reason, we are required to take out employers’ liability insurance in addition to public liability insurance.
- Personal accident insurance would be prohibitively expensive for the association, and for most potential incidents would not be relevant of itself because other insurance would provide remedial cover.