Outings Insurance

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WCA COVERAGE UNDER ORCKA CLUB INSURANCE LIABILITY POLICY

Coverage Summary

As per Pearson Dunn Insurance:

ORCKA club members including Executives, Managers, Coaches, Directors, Officers, Officials, Employees, Participants & Volunteers while acting on behalf of the member club are covered under the above Liability Policy in the amount of $5,000,000/per occurrence limit and a $500 deductible on bodily injury or property damage claims.

The Liability Policy pays those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as compensatory damages because of bodily injury to or damage to property of others, such as passers-by, property owners and others resulting from your operations or actions.

There is also many other extensions of coverage included under the Liability Policy such as Errors and Omissions Liability in the amount of $1,000,000/per occurrence limit and a $500 deductible.

The Errors & Omissions coverage protects the insured member for compensatory damages as a result of their wrongful acts. The coverage responds to “civil proceedings” (statement of claim) and does not cover Human Rights or other Tribunal (non-civil proceeding issues).

This insurance policy is comprehensive in its coverages, and in addition to types of risks that the WCA could find itself facing, provided protection for types of risks that professional instructors, camps and outfitters may encounter. For the WCA, the following would be the relevant types of coverage provided.

• Participant Liability -- This coverage protects the insured from claims arising from “bodily injury" and "property damage" in the event that an injured athletic participant files a lawsuit. This coverage also includes “Participant to Participant” Liability (Player versus Player) which protects the participant in the event that one player is sued by another player resulting from an injury. Limit is $5,000,000 per occurrence.

• Incidental Medical Malpractice - - Protection for rendering first aid to an injured person by a non-medical professional in the course of your activities. This protects any of our members rendering first aid to other members injured during a club activity. Limit is $5,000,000 per occurrence.

• Errors & Omissions Liability -- This is an Errors & Omissions coverage which protects the insured member for compensatory damages as a result of their wrongful acts. The coverage responds to “civil proceedings” (statement of claim) and does not cover Human Rights or other Tribunal (non-civil proceeding issues). Limit is $1,000,000 per occurrence.

• Blanket Contractual -- This provides coverage for the insured when he/she signs a contract, which stipulates the legal responsibility of the insured. Limit is $5,000,000 per occurrence.

• Sports Accident –This provides coverage for accidental bodily injury or death sustained by an Insured due to violent, sudden, fortuitous causes beyond the Insured’s control, occurring in Canada. The Accident Policy pays for medical bills on behalf of injured participants. Also, the threat of a lawsuit is minimized as the injured participants’ medical bills are taken care of. This coverage includes medical expenses reimbursement, fracture indemnity, emergency transportation, prosthetics, rehabilitation, dental injuries, family transportation, and weekly income. For fractures, dislocations or severances, the maximum payment is $50,000. Aggregate limit per accident is $1,000,000.

Who is Covered?
For Liability, Incidental Medical Malpractice, and Sports Accidents, all members in good standing are covered while participating in sanctioned club activities. This includes directors and officers.
For Errors & Omissions and Blanket Contractual, directors and board members are covered for activities within the scope of their positions and authority within the WCA.

Who is not Covered?
Non-members or lapsed members at the time of the occurrence. You must be a current member in good standing to be covered.

What Activities are Covered?
Only those club activities listed in our application for insurance are included under this policy. Our application included regular outings/workshops under our Outings Program, AGM, Fall Meeting, Fall Party, and Outdoor Adventure Show. Should the club decide to participate in some additional activity, we would have to inform the insurer for their agreement to cover it. While we are a canoe club, since we do canoe tripping, the coverage should apply to all related out of the boat situations such as portaging or camping as part of the activity.

What Activities are Not Covered?
Any activities not listed in our application are not included in this policy. In addition, there are a number of sports activities that are excluded from coverage. Some, such as cheerleading, are clearly not relevant to our organization. However, there are a number of outdoors activities that might be offered by organizers or at events like the Fall Meeting or AGM such as alpine skiing and snowboarding, climbing walls, cycling, dog sledding, high & low ropes initiatives, indoor/outdoor wall/rock climbing, rafting,tubing and zip lining. We need to be aware that such activities would take place without any insurance support.

All private trips posted in the members forums, or good & services provided are outside of the scope of this policy. Members organizing private trips or participating in offered trips here are not covered.
Any actions by any member or non-member in connection with a club activity that could be construed as physical, emotional sexual harassment or abuse are excluded. Likewise excluded are any wrongful actions that would be adjudicated by a human rights or other tribunal. While highly unlikely, these exclusions mean that the club could be liable for the unfortunate actions of a “loose cannon.”
Any actions by officers or directors that are outside of the scope or authority of their official WCA positions are not included.

Possible Claim Scenarios & their Significance
Only a senior claims area employee for the insurance carrier, Aviva, can make a definitive comment about how a particular scenario would be viewed in the event of a claim, and these people will not address hypothetical claim situations out of concerns it could create a situation of liability they didn’t want to get into. They will tell you to read your contract, or discuss the contents with a liability lawyer. They will tell you that each claim is assessed based on the full set of particulars around it.
However, based on my reading of the policy and explanatory documents, I would offer the following as possible outcomes of scenarios that the club could conceivably find itself in.

• Trip organizer Tom tells marginal member participant Dick that a rapid is easy and safe for him to run. Member participant Harry chides Dick that he’s just being a chicken and holding up the group unnecessarily. Dick runs the rapid and is seriously injured, and sues for the resultant disability. Tom and Harry are both covered under the $5,000,000 liability coverage. There are two defendants, but they are involved in a single event, so the total is capped at $5,000,000.

• Change the above so that Harry is a non-member. The organizer is covered but non-member Harry isn’t.

• Change the above so that the injured party is a non-member. The policy still protects the organizer, and participant advice-giver if a member.

• In the example above, Dick was pulled out of the river unconscious. Tom and non-member participant Elsie are trained first-aiders. They work to resuscitate Dick, who incurs brain damage during the extended resuscitation, and he sues Tom and Elsie claiming injury due to their incompetent first aid. Tom is protected under the incidental medical malpractice coverage, but Elsie, as a non-member, is not.

• Let’s add another feature to the above scenario to illustrate an errors & omissions situation. Errors and omissions situations normally come into play were a skilled or professional person makes a mistake or neglects to do something that would be normally expected of a person with that training or competence. Most often one sees it in financial services where a financial services professional makes a recommendation to a client that they should have known was clearly inappropriate, such as a financial advisor telling an elderly client to cash in all their GIC’s to buy Bitcoins. In the paddling realm, it would most likely come up with camps and outfitters. A rafting outfitter who advertised that you could come along with them down the Nahanni regardless of fitness, swimming ability, or medical conditions might qualify as acting wrongfully after the non-swimming geriatric cardiac patient in the raft expired. An experienced pro guide and outfitter would be expected to know better. In the case of a canoe club, errors and omissions situations would be unlikely. However, in the above situation, suppose the club in its list of required equipment for trip participants neglected to include a buoyant heaving line. Dick argues that the organizer and other participants should have had throw bags, and had these been available, he would have been rescued before his nasty trashing and resultant injuries. It could be maintained that a canoe club with a highly experienced Board and Outings Committee should have known throw lines were universally expected as safety gear, and that the heaving line was a Coast Guard requirement. By not having this as a posted club requirement, the organization and its leaders was a gross violation of their duty to keep members safe. In such a situation, the E&O coverage could come into effect, as well as the general liability.

• Everyone has arrived at the put-in for Mary’s trip, changed into paddling attire, and have their boats ready to launch. They do the car shuttle to the take-out, and Mary chauffeurs the drivers back. While having a heated discussion about the merits of prospector canoes, she runs a stop sign, leading to a collision and multiple passenger injuries. Two members and a non-member are seriously injured, as is the driver of the other vehicle. The liability coverage may protect Mary from liability suits from all injured parties. The sport accident insurance may also apply to the two injured members. The issue here would be whether or not the insurer considered the shuttle to be part of the actual outing and taken place after the outing had commenced. Since it took place after everyone had arrived and clearly prepared to start the trip, a good case could be made for the shuttle being an integral part of the trip.

• Change the above so that Mary gets non-member Suzanne to drive them back. Suzanne would definitely not be protected under the policy since she is not a member. However, her being a non-member would not affect the members’ ability to qualify under the sports accident protection.

• Change the above to Mary or Suzanne driving the others to the start of the trip in a car pooling arrangement. The club liability or sports injury coverage would not apply regardless of who was driving as the trip had not yet commenced.

• Rather than claiming under the club liability policy, the injured parties would more likely claim under Mary’s or Suzanne’s no-fault auto liability insurance.

• The WCA Board agrees to buy a new website. President Gary signs a contract with the IT company. Subsequently, there is a disagreement over the work performed and payment for the project, and the developer sues the WCA for breach of the contract. The blanket contractual coverage protects the club in this situation.

• Change the above. Treasurer Anne decides that the club needs a more upscale image, and takes it upon herself to order $20,000 worth of Hermes WCA logo leather jackets (4 of them). The Board repudiates Anne’s action as they could have got 5 for the same price from Louis Vuitton. Unlike in the first example where the Board had passed a motion to buy the new website and the Chair had signed the contract, here the Treasurer was not acting within the scope of her role and authority. Consequently, the Loose Cannon provision comes into play, and the insurer would not defend the club in a suit by Hermes for performance of the contract.

• Larry organizes and describes on the Outings Program schedule a canoe trip down the Madawaska. Bill shows up with a rubber raft. If Bill is injured after Larry tells him Granite Falls should be no problem in the raft, Larry could not rely on the club liability coverage since he allowed Bill to participate using an excluded craft. If any of the other paddlers in canoes or kayaks were hurt, the liability insurance would continue to protect Larry. Bottom line is that if someone is allowed to participate in a raft, we have no coverage.

• Change the above to Larry issuing an invitation to all canoeists, kayakers and rafters to join him on the Madawaska. The inclusion of rafts as a class of boats invited to participate may cause the whole trip to be excluded from coverage.

• The Board passes a resolution that they will not admit Klingons to membership in the WCA because they are nasty, violent, untrustworthy people. The Klingo-Canadian Association hears about this resolution at our AGM and launches an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint, and we are facing a steep fine for the rights violation. The insurance excludes any action that is assessed by a regulatory or rights body, so we’re on our own.

• Similarly, an organizer or other participant is constantly criticizing and making fun of a participant. The victim is goaded into running a rapid that results in serious injury. The insurance coverage is void because it will not provide coverage in the event of situations involving personal abuse of any kind. They won’t be responsible if we don’t police to remove the Loose Cannons.

Bill Ness
Outings Chair