With COVID-19 and the Contagion Exclusion of our proposed renewal insurance, we believed that it is very important to inform you of the status of our present insurance coverage and our plans for the new policy commencing on May 31st. As you are aware our present insurance is valid until May 31st. Our insurance is for Directors and Officers (D&O) liability.
We have previously reported that our insurance agent (SBC Insurance) has notified us that, about two weeks ago, they were informed that all insurance policies renewed after March 20th would have a Contagion Exclusion. This results from the existing COVID-19 pandemic. Since then our agent has been further informed that our insurance broker has changed our existing policy to include the Contagion Exclusion, effective immediately. This exclusion includes legal representation and settlement costs for law suits.
For clarification and confirmation, Bowls BC asked our insurance agent two specific questions concerning our existing policy. The questions were:
- At the present time (until May 31st) do we have defence insurance for our Directors?
- At the present time( until May 31st) do we have settlement insurance for our Directors should a suit be successful?
Our insurance agent has responded to the two questions as follows:
1. At the present time (until May 31st) do we have defence insurance for our Directors?
- At the present time and in relation to returning to sport and then someone contracting COVID-19, there is no coverage under the directors and officers policy through Markel.
- ***For example, directors making the decision to return to play lawn-bowling and the someone contracts COVID-19 and sues the club or takes litigation against the club and its members for contracting COVID-19***
- The main reason why there is no coverage is because D&O policies and coverage are not intended to cover bodily injury and property damage claims. On D&O policies, there is a absolute bodily injury and property damage exclusion. This means that there is no bodily injury and/or property damage coverage. The intent is for the regular CGL or commercial general liability policy will pick up the defense costs related to bodily injury and/or property damage claims/litigation – not the D&O policy.
- Further to this, there is no defense costs coverage under the CGL or Commercial General Liability policy.
2. At the present time( until May 31st) do we have settlement insurance for our Directors should a suit be successful?
- At the present time(until May 31st), there is no settlement insurance for director and officers should a suit arise and be successful related to COVID-19.
The unanimous recommendation that is being advised across the nation is to not begin sport unless a proper CGL (Commercial General Liability) AND D&O (Directors and Officers) policy is in place. Once insurance is in place, it is then recommended to return to sport in a phased approached. Moreover, when there is a planned or gradual return to play, clubs, especially private clubs, should have proper risk management protocols and safety measures in place.
Those clubs that decide to operate or return without insurance at the present time will be doing so at their own risk. This means, defense costs and settlement costs for anything related to COVID-19 for the members will not be provided (no coverage).”
Bowls BC wants to make it clear and to stress that any club that approves or allows bowling to take place at their club puts their Directors and Officers at risk of prosecution at their personal expense. It is the strong recommendation of Bowls BC that member clubs DO NOT permit or condone bowling at this time and until the appropriate liability insurance has been provided to Bowls BC and our member clubs.
Bowls BC has directed our insurance agent to pursue alternate means of providing appropriate liability insurance. Our agent is working closely with insurance companies that might provide liability insurance without a Contagion Exclusion. Negotiations are still underway and we will not know of the availability or associated policy costs for approximately one week. We will have an answer and provide insurance, to the best our ability, by our deadline of May 31st.
Regards and please keep yourselves and our members safe.
Bowls BC President