Clarifying the UKA insurance cover for coaches

On the 18th March 2010 we produced an article outlining the then new UKA proposals for re-vamping coaching qualifications in the UK. We predicted a bumpy path and in the event the new coaching scheme has proved to be badly conceived and behind schedule. We will be addressing this in more detail in a later article. For now we look at the insurance cover for existing and the new grades of coaches and team leaders.

It has become apparent to clubs that the UKA target of delivering multi event coaching to young children is unattainable as there is a paucity of coaches to meet the potential demand. Various solutions have been proposed including using parents supervised by level 2 and above coaches. Clubs have pointed out to UKA that under the existing UKA insurance cover parents and unqualified helpers would not be insured. Faced with this situation clubs would be forced to abandon many schools based initiatives.

ABAC has seen an email train addressing these issues. As a result UKA claim to have widened their insurance cover. Here is the situation outlined in an email from UKA dated 9thDecember 2010.

The UKA public liability insurance policy does not differentiate between the qualifications and experience of a coach or stipulate that it only covers those with a level 2 or higher qualification. Coach and Leader licences are only issued on successful completion of a CRB application and the renewal process is dependent on a three yearly renewal. CRB clearance is essential.

Coaching good practice is another matter and this is where supervision of level 1 coaches and non qualified people enters the equation but it does not necessarily mean that the insurance cover is cancelled if that supervision is not in place. Our insurers have recognised the nature of the sport, particularly in smaller running clubs, and understand the risk they are taking. These practices are promoted through the education process and it is acceptable and understandable that clubs may wish to adopt this as a policy for activity within their clubs.

We have a recent case of a claim being made against a coach whose licence had not been renewed and that claim has had to be made against the club rather than the coach as the incident occurred within a club organised session. If the session had taken place outside club organisation then it is probable the coach would be personally liable for any damages and costs.

The UKA insurance information sheets have been revised and reissued this week and provide more detail and a reference point.

John Temperton Athletics Services Manager UKA


The revised information on insurance has been placed on the UKA website. These are the relevant statements.

UKA Insurance

Insurance cover for Coaches and Leaders.

A Coach or Leader who holds a current UKA pass and licence in the discipline being coached is automatically provided with public liability insurance cover which applies while you are involved in “athletics activities”.

It covers unqualified people so long as they are under the direct control of a qualified licensed Coach or Leader and are merely carrying out instructions given to them by that Coach or Leader.

Insurance cover for Technical Officials

As a Technical Official* who acts on behalf of a UKA affiliated club, organisation or meeting promoter, you are automatically provided with insurance cover which applies while you are involved in “athletics activities”.

*The term “Technical Official” is defined as being a person who has satisfied the requirements of UK Athletics as set down in the “Rules of Competition” as updated from time to time.

ABAC Comment. While these statements go some way to assuring us that the insurance policy for coaches provides wider cover than previously they are by no means definitive. We can imagine the insurance provider could well refuse a claim if supervision by a level 2 or higher coach was not directly applied. Also do the unqualified people require CRB checks?

We note that the UKA Rule Book Appendix E Technical Officials (Endurance) defines recognised grades as Levels 2, 3 and 5. It would seem that non registered cross country and road race helpers are not covered by UKA insurance.

And as for pack runs on club nights we urge clubs to implement the Good Practice Guide lines set out in our article of the 16th April 2009.