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Changes to our insurance costs

Wednesday 25th March 2020, 12:10pm

A letter from Stuart Younie, Chief Executive Officer of Mountaineering Scotland, and Brian Shackleton, President, to all members of Mountaineering Scotland.

We are writing to let you know about an issue which has impacted on our insurance costs. Following discussions with the board of Mountaineering Scotland we felt it was important that members were made aware of this situation although we are mindful that the focus for many of you is likely to be on dealing with the current health emergency. 

With the support of members at our AGM in Nov 2019 it was agreed to increase our fees by 8% applicable from April 2020, and to fix these for three years, until AGM 2022, to cover inflationary pressures and the increase of our combined and public liability insurance from 10 to 15 million over that period.

Our current three-year insurance agreement came to an end on the 31st Dec 2019 and in the process of renewing this agreement we were informed that we would face a large increase in our Combined and Public Liability cover. We understand that this increase is due to a significant claim against the BMC policy in 2018 following a serious accident which occurred at an indoor climbing wall during a club session.

Working with our insurance brokers, Howdens, we sought to minimise the impact on our members by seeking alternative quotations, however the responses confirmed that this claim has had a significant impact on the overall insurance market for the activities covered by the Mountaineering Scotland policy. As a result, we were unable to find a more competitive quote than with our current underwriters Hiscox.

To ensure we provided continuation of insurance cover, which is regarded by many members as an important benefit, and following the advice of our brokers, we have entered into a new three-year agreement. This agreement has delivered an increase in our level of Public Liability cover to 15 million, however we are faced with managing a significant increase in our costs for this policy, compared to our 2019 insurance costs, with further increases over the term of the agreement.

It is important to note this rise in cost is in part a result of increasing our level of Public Liability cover, but the level of increase overall is mainly as a result of the claim against the BMC policy in 2018.

We are working closely with the directors of Mountaineering Scotland to review our three-year financial plan and ensure in the short term that we minimise the impact of this increase on our members given the commitments made at the last AGM. We are already working on options with the aim of ensuring there is no further increase in fees over the next two years, however it is likely that we will need review this position and increase fees within the next three years and most probably at the AGM 2021 rather than at AGM 2022 as intended.

As part of this review we will also need to assess the financial impact of the current public health emergency on the budget as this will also be an important consideration in our future planning.

We felt it was important that we made members aware of the position and provide reassurance that despite the challenge of this increase in insurance costs, we will continue to deliver the services you expect, and campaign on the issues which remain at the heart of our organisation and matter most to our members.

On behalf of the board and the staff of Mountaineering Scotland we hope that we can continue to rely on your support as we work on your behalf to resolve this situation. In preparing this letter we letter are also responding daily to the fast moving situation resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus and we would like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes to all our members during this difficult and challenging time.

Yours sincerely

 Stuart Younie                                                                                     Brian Shackleton

CEO, Mountaineering Scotland                                                  President, Mountaineering Scotland


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