Check if your coach is insured!

13 Feb 2018 | NSSA News

What are the consequences of coaches operating outside the remit of their qualifications?

Generally this can happen with no incident and therefore no issue but the problem would arise if there is an incident where the coach is accused or found to be at fault or accused of negligence or a liability claim is made against them. 
At that point, if not working within the remit of their qualification, the professional liability cover supplied with their governing body membership will not cover them. This could have dire consequences both for them, and for anyone affected by the incident.
Of course some organisations will also carry independent liability insurance but the risk with this is that the insurance company may not pay a claim where the coach is deemed to be working beyond their remit.

You would think that, when joining a club or, especially, when a school chooses a training organisation to use for alpine skiing or ski racing that it’s a given for the organisation or the coach(es) to be working within the remit of their qualification at all times , therefore being covered by professional liability insurance.

Unfortunately this is not always the case and has recently led one of the sports coaching governing bodies to issue a statement to coaches re iterating their qualifications range of operation and consequentially, insurance. This can be found at the bottom of this post.

What can you do to ensure that you are covered?

As an individual, you need to ask your training organisation or coach for their qualifications and copies of licences. If you are unsure, you can check the remit of these with the governing bodies such as Snowsport England/Scotland/Wales, BASI, IASI etc.
For Schools, it should be considered due diligence to check that any organisation engaged to work with the schools children is covered and using appropriately qualified staff working within the appropriate hierarchy. The National Schools Snowsports Association can help with this. 

Range of Operation (as stated by Snowsports England)

As with almost all snowsports awarding bodies, SSE issues members in good standing with licences on an annual basis.
Each licence [and therefore each licence holder]has a clear, specified range of operation. Coaches and instructors are only authorised by SSE to operate within these specified ranges of operation. A coach or instructor operating outside of that specified range cannot be supported by SSE and is not covered by SSE insurance’.
SSE advises in the strongest possible terms that coaches and instructors only operate within the range of operation of their award and in addition advises employers* that:

  • Licences are issued on an annual basis to members in good standing
  • It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that any coach or instructor holds the appropriate award for the role in which they are to be deployed.
  • Employers are advised in the strongest terms to check the status of coaches or instructors before the are deployed. The SSE office can assist with this, confirming the status of any member to any bona fide person if requested.
  • SSE only supports coaches and instructors operating within the range of operation of their award
  • Instructors and coaches operating beyond the range of operation of their award are notcovered by SSE’s insurance.

To summarise: an instructor or coach who operates outside of the range of operation of their award will not be covered by SSE’s liability insurance. It’s little different from the holder of a ‘car only’ driving licence expecting to be insured when driving an articulated lorry without the right licence.  Don’t do it!
*The term ‘employer’ encompasses all individuals and organisations deploying instructors and/or coaches whether as volunteers or for remuneration.