Because (thank heaven) more and more people are actually reading, and thinking about, what they are signing and then checking with FBHVC when they see something that looks unfair or unreasonable. One of the most common complaints is that participants in events are asked to indemnify the organisers of the event against any claim even if the incident giving rise to the claim was caused by the organiser’s negligence.
Such wording was made illegal by the Unfair Contract Terms Act of 1977, but, quite remarkably, such terms are still seen over 30 years later. Other questions arise when organisers seek more information or documentation than seems reasonable.
Before anyone can sign an entry form, they need to know what they are signing up to. So an entry form should be accompanied by a description of the event and the terms and conditions for that event being stipulated by the organiser, and this should include at least the name and address of the organiser. The entry form itself should show the name and date of the event, and the name of the organiser. It should then ask the potential participant to provide the information the organiser needs, which should at least include name and address but may perfectly reasonably also call for telephone, e-mail and various vehicle details. The form will usually close with a space for a signature under a declaration stating that the person entering agrees to various terms and conditions. It is in the detail of those terms and conditions that care is needed.
No entry form should cause an entrant to sign away his or her rights of redress against a negligent organiser – not least because doing so may cause problems for the entrant’s own insurance. Expressions such as “indemnify the organisers” and “however caused” within a declaration should set the warning bells ringing.
Simple: don’t sign. If you really want to take part in the event concerned, contact the organisers and explain why you are unhappy to sign the form as it is and see if they will accept a form with an amended declaration.
Some organisers of static shows call for entrants to have Public Liability Insurance. Other event organisers specify Road Traffic Act insurance, and some confuse the two. Neither automatically provides an exhibitor with compensation for loss or damage to his own property.
Public Liability (PL) insurance provides cover to an individual or organisation to provide recompense to a member of the public who suffers loss or damage occurring as a result of an incident arising from negligence on the part of the insured. Most individuals who have household insurance will find they have an element of public liability insurance for their hobby activities included automatically. For PL insurance to pay out, negligence on the part of the insured has to be established. It is the individual that is insured for carrying out the activity under consideration, such as exhibiting at shows. This is, effectively, the only practical cover available to someone who attends shows with exhibits that are either not vehicles or are vehicles that cannot be insured under a normal road policy because they are not roadworthy. An exhibitor who relies on PL cover to satisfy event organisers’ requirements and who also wishes to have protection in case of loss or damage to the exhibit itself will usually need to ensure that the item(s) being exhibited are listed under the “All Risks” section of their policy. Individuals in doubt should check their position with their household insurance provider.
The Road Traffic Act (RTA) insurance requirements are different, and provide recompense for parties suffering loss or injury as a result of the use of the vehicle covered without need for the claimant to demonstrate negligence on the part of the insured. In one sense, this is providing a greater degree of cover than PL, as negligence does not have to be proved in the event of an accident being caused by the use of the vehicle and if the vehicle is insured comprehensively, it should also provide cover for damage to the vehicle itself. On the other hand, it is providing less because it does not cover any non-vehicle related incident that the exhibitor may cause whilst present at an event, such as causing someone to trip because of a badly positioned guy-rope.
The wise exhibitor ensures that his vehicle is insured as required by law, makes sure his/her insurance company does not exclude use of the vehicle for exhibitions, and also makes sure that the PL cover that comes with his/her household insurance does not exclude cover for hobby activities taking place in public places, and (if he wants compensation in the event of his own exhibit being damaged) he checks with his broker that his insurance will provide this. If those steps are taken, it is reasonable to sign a declaration to the effect that the exhibit and activity are covered by insurance.
6. I have heard about Certificates of Exemption issued by the RAC Motorsports Association. For which type of events are these required?
The RAC MSA have issued a very helpful chart which clearly sets out when and by whom CoE's are required. Download a copy here
An Event Entry form can be downloaded here.