Litigation Gone Crazy!!!

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Insurance' started by Murray, Jun 8, 2002.

  1. Murray

    Murray Well-known Member Staff Member

    I thought people might like to read this article found in the Sydney Morning Herald today. I certainly agree with Mr Lawler's comments at the bottom and can only say that the expression, "the law is an ass" really does apply in this case.

    Here it is...

    "No movement at the station, thanks to the Litigant from Snowy River"

    Late last year the owner of Glenworth Valley Horseriding got some news that he once would have laughed off - he was being sued by a visitor who fell off a horse and fractured his right ring finger. Today, however, in the middle of a public liability crisis that has the potential to destroy the outdoor recreation industry, this news could force his business to close. The rider also claimed to have hurt a second finger and his foot and says he lost his job because of his injuries, according to court documents. Over 30 years, and more than 400,000 rides, Glenworth Valley, at Peats Ridge on the Central Coast, has faced just four legal cases. Even so, Mr Lawler has now been told that his operation - the biggest of its kind in Australia, with more than 200 horses and 15 full-time staff - is too great a risk for any local insurers.
    When his present policy expires at the beginning of August, he will be left with no public liability protection and will be forced to sell his herd and shut his gates. It is a story being repeated around Australia as trail-riding and horseriding businesses learn that this popular Australian recreation is becoming uninsurable. Horseriding is on the verge of a shutdown over the next few months as policies expire and insurers refuse to renew coverage. The Equestrian Federation of Australia, which has organised bulk insurance for 800 clubs around the country, has until the end of September to find an overseas underwriter prepared to take on the risk. The federation also organises insurance for more than 600 horseriding coaches. Without insurance, the clubs and coaches will have to shut down. The federation's executive officer, Ms Tonia Amy, said she had no choice but to search overseas for insurance. "This could be the end of our sport as it exists today." The Australian insurers of the Pony Club of NSW, which has 290 clubs and 16,000 members, say that they will no longer provide coverage. After December 31, if the club and its Queensland counterpart cannot find insurance overseas then they will have to close. The situation is even more dire for clubs in other states - their insurance expires at the end of the month. "Nothing is certain at the moment," said the executive director of the NSW club, Jenny Amadio. "Our brokers are looking offshore. Even if we do find something, the question will be affordability. "This year there was already a 24 per cent increase in our premiums and nobody can advise whether we face a 30 per cent increase or a 200 per cent increase." The president of the Insurance Council of Australia, Raymond Jones, said brokers were having trouble getting even overseas cover for horse-riding businesses. "There are some inherently nasty risks," he said. "Most underwriters are saying, `It's just too hard for us'. The claims history [in this sector] is very poor."
    Mr Lawler, who is also a spokesman for the Australian Horseriding Centres Association, feels that greed is the driving force behind the surge in claims against horse-riding businesses.
    "The problem is that a lot of these people have nothing to lose," he said. "If you don't want to take the risk then don't do the activity. You are riding an animal, for God's sake."

    Regards...Murray S
  2. blondie

    blondie New Member

    What happens now?
    A life without horses?
    It's enough to make you cry.

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