(Updated May 2012)
Members of Whitewater Ontario (WO) frequently question why WO has insurance (and why as members they need to pay fees that include insurance coverage). This note tries to clarify the role that insurance plays in our organization, and how it benefits both the members of WO and the organization.
Insurance is a benefit that few people actually use. Thus it's easy to ask why bother, why do we need it, isn’t it just a waste of money?
As an organization, WO and its directors must act in a responsible manner, which includes managing risk. Whitewater paddling involves risk and can result in injury and, in rare cases, death. As a responsible organization WO purchases insurance coverage to protect the organization and its members from catastrophic potential expenses and to ensure that we continue to attract strong volunteers to act on behalf of all paddlers.
Alongside insurance protection, WO maintains and promotes a safety policy (add hyperlink) and has specific criteria against which sanctioned events are reviewed (add hyperlink) and, where appropriate, formally sanctioned by WO.
A. What kind of Insurance does WO have?
WO is insured under a Canoe-Kayak Ontario (CKO) group package with two other paddle sport organizations affiliated with Canoe Ontario. The other affiliates are Ontario Canoe Sprint Racing Affiliation (OCSRA) and Ontario Marathon Canoe Racing Affiliation (OMCRA). Together the four organizations are the named ‘insured party’ in the CKO insurance. However, other individuals, such as WO members, are insured as well under some sections of the insurance policies.
CKO (and WO) is covered under three types of insurance: Commercial General Liability, Wrongful Acts, and Sport Accident Insurance. Each is described below
1. Commercial General Liability
Commercial General Liability insurance protects the organization of WO and its directors, officers, employees and the members of WO who are participants at WO sanctioned events and activities against civil action claims made by third parties for compensatory damages resulting from bodily injury or property damage. The policy will also respond to a civil suits resulting from a participant who is injured while participating in a WO sanctioned event.
2. Directors and Officers Wrongful Acts
This coverage protects the volunteer directors and officers of WO against a claim alleging that their ‘wrongful acts’ (including errors and omissions) caused a loss or damage. Without this coverage WO would be unable to attract volunteers to run the organization - and our events. New for 2012: our policy extends this coverage to Directors and Officers of Member Clubs, participating in the WO Club Insurance Program
3. Sport Accident Insurance
This policy directly benefits all WO members. It provides financial assistance in the event of personal injury (or death) as a result of an accident that occurs while a WO member is paddling during a WO sanctioned event. It is intended to cover medical expenses not otherwise covered as well as loss of wage if the injury caused time off work. In the event of an accident, a member can obtain and complete a claim form to make a claim for reimbursement of medical and other expenses caused by the accident. The limits of reimbursement vary by type of injury and loss. In the event of a claim the claims adjuster will walk you through the process and eligibility.
B. Insurance covers WO ‘sanctioned events’ and sanctioned club activities for clubs enrolled in the WO "club Insurance program".
The WO insurance only covers loss or damage that is caused by an ‘insured’ (WO member) when the insured is involved in or participating at a WO ‘sanctioned event’. A sanctioned event can include ongoing coaching and instructional programs over a season as well as specific events.Coverage will also apply when a member is participating in a sanctioned club activity for those clubs that gave enrolled in the WO Club Insurance Program.
During any non-sanctioned activities the WO insurance will not respond in the event of a claim or loss. .
C. What is a WO sanctioned activity?
Sanctioning of an event by WO means that the event is formally recognized and acknowledged by WO.
Sanctioning of club activities includes all approved activities as detailed in the Clubs application for coverage under the WO Club Insurance Program.
The activities to be included in the event for sanctioning purposes are exclusively those described within the terms of WO (Canoe-Kayak Ontario) insurance policy. This includes normal whitewater paddling activities such as, instructional and coached activities on whitewater and flat-water venues, and competitions (slalom, downriver and freestyle) as well as and directly related activities including awards banquets. Supervised river runs organized by WO member clubs are also covered.
In order to ensure coverage is applicable, clubs must formally enter into a sanctioning agreement with WO, either for specific events or for their planned programs during the paddling season. WO will review the planned activities to ensure all planned activities fall within the scope of insurance coverage (as defined in the insurance policy) and adhere to the WO safety policy. In cases where some activities may be questionable (for example building a ramp for freestyle moves into water) WO may formally seek an opinion and confirmation of acceptance by the Insurer, prior to sanctioning this specific activity/event.For details and clarification on insurance coverage contact the WO office.
Additional documents to assist clubs in risk management and insurance: