Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

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Adrian Constable
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Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:03 pm

Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

Post by Adrian Constable » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:08 am

Those of us who are IPMS members are covered by the IPMS Employers Liability Insurance. This means that if we are working at a show and something untoward happens, the IPMS covers our liability, up to a maximum of £5m, and possibly further in some circumstances. Precisely what is covered needs clarification, but it will include public liability cover (which is why we have to have Risk Registers and so forth) and liability for injury to members in the course of sensible activities in the course of a show. It may also include club meetings - one might think it should, but again clarification is needed and has been asked for.

We are not, by any means, the only IPMS Branch which encourages non-members to join the club, so we will not be the only ones faced with this dilemma - not that that makes it any better. Non-IPMS-members are not covered by the Employers Liability Insurance, as they are not deemed to be 'employed'. It is, perhaps, a moot point as to who is liable for such people. The coice is simple: either the individual themselves, or, more likely, the club. Neither have access to millions of pounds (unless one or two of you have been keeping that quiet...), and neither have such insurance cover.

This is less of an issue for us while we do not organise a public show. The logical outcome of this, though, is that we, and every other branch, adopt one or both of two policies:
a) 100% IPMS membership of the branch.
b) No non-IPMS-members are not allowed to represent the club at an IPMS show (externally organised shows such as the Engineering show at Ally Pally have their own insurance arrangements and we are all covered regardless).

For club meetings we are being pushed firmly towards 100% IPMS membership. Charging an annual fee constitutes a contract between the club and the individual paying it, thus making them 'employees' in this context. Our Employers Liability Insurance is provided through the IPMS, and thus only covers IPMS members, thus leaving any liabilty in regard of non-IPMS-members firmly at the club's feet. A way round this may be for non-IPMS-members to sign an indemnity to say that the club is not liable for their actions, but I'm not sure how watertight that would be if it came to law - we could spend an awful lot of money to find out, even if we turned out to be in the right.

Let me clarify, this is not a deliberate policy of the main IPMS society. It falls naturally out of their need, for a variety of reasons, to become a limited company, which was actually achieved some years ago. Following from there, companies have 'employees', who must be insured. Unintended consequence, perhaps, but also removing a loophole by which some individuals or clubs could find themselves financially embarrassed in the extreme.

So that prompts a question. If you're not an IPMS member, why not? It doesn't cost a huge amount, and the benefits around the Telford show are obvious. If you're a family member, then you can actually find yourself quids-in at Telford as the cost of membership could be less than the several tickets it saves you, to say nothing of getting in early and so on. We, as an IPMS Branch, could save ourselves a lot of messing about, and a lot of potential hassle, if everyone was an IPMS member. Don't get me wrong, I value the ALM's independance - it was in large part my idea in the first place - but the reasons that we became independent are more than 30 years behind us, and there's no reason we can't continue our dual identity even if all our members are IPMS members.


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Eric Sanger
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:44 am

Re: Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

Post by Eric Sanger » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:04 am

this obviously needs to be discussed at a meeting. However there are some other points which you might like to clarify regarding our hire of our room at St. Brides.

How are "guests" covered under the Liability insurance?
By this I mean non IPMS members who attend meetings for whatever reason. In our case, genuine guests, ALM members who are not in the IPMS, invited speakers or IPMS members from other branches or SIGs

What, if any, cover do we have from St Bride's re: members and visitors? What are their terms and conditions?

I can understand the strictures on attending IPMS shows as a non-member but what about shows like Southern Expo or the Plastic Modellers Show in December?

I look forward to further information on this.
Best of luck with your enquiries.

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Chris Walker
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:41 am

Re: Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

Post by Chris Walker » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:22 pm

Nothing's happened so let's make life more difficult for everyone anyway just in case. God, it's like being back at work -
"We need a new form"
"No we bloody well don't" was my stock reply.

I thought the IPMS insurance meant we were all covered at any of their shows. It seems not from what you say. Have they just decided that or is it still a query? It's probably only going one way though.

Re. branch meetings - unfortunately there's this -

From St. Bride's T's and C's -

The Hirer shall produce to the Foundation, upon request, written evidence of a current public liability insurance with a limit indemnity of not less than £2,000,000.

So, would 100% IPMS membership cover that as well as IPMS-branded shows? That leaves other shows, as Eric mentions, and the status of current and future club members. Wouldn't our own insurance if we got it be simpler? Costs v benefits to be the decider of course. It would help preserve our independence as well.

What do MAFVA do - do they have blanket cover or club cover or both or neither? Do they have branches that are subsets of larger clubs like ALM?

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Eric Sanger
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:44 am

Re: Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

Post by Eric Sanger » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:24 am

what I remember of MAFVA they don't have such insurance; one the reasons they pulled out of the Bovington show whose organisers demanded it. but MAFVA is relatively small compared to the IPMS.
I agree with Chris in that we should be looking to fund our own insurance, provided it doesn't cost an arm and a leg; and of course there is always the tax on it.
Still best to ask questions first before we decide on any actions.

Adrian Constable
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:03 pm

Re: Employers Liability Insurance and 100% IPMS membership

Post by Adrian Constable » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:09 pm

I agree wholeheartedly that we need to discuss this at a meeting, and it would not surprise me if that turned into 'several meetings'. I thought it worth airing here so that it doesn't come as a complete shock come the end of the month.

If you're on the IPMS Society Business Facebook group, you'll have seen that this issue has generated more questions than just mine. An official response is promised, clarifying things. I would not expect it any time soon, however, as the EC will probably want to take proper advice, and maybe seek clarification from the insurers too.

To clarify the position as currently stated:
  • This insurance covers any IPMS members working or volunteering at any IPMS-organised show.
  • It does not cover people who are not IPMS members under any circumstances.
  • It would not appear to cover people who are IPMS members who simply walk into a show at which their Branch/SIG does not have a presence and at which they are not otherwise doing anything useful to the show.
  • It is an open question whether in this context regular meetings can be considered in the same context as shows - it would seem logical that they are, but it needs to be confirmed - but if they are then the insurance still only applies to IPMS members. (Incidentally, the limit indemnity of the IPMS insurance is not less than £5m, comfortably more than the £2m required by St Brides.)
  • Shows which are not organised by IPMS would reasonably be expected to have their own insurance arrangements, by which we as a club would be covered regardless of any personal affiliation - certainly Southern Expo and the LMEE do have, I can't comment on any others.
Outstanding questions would thus seem to include:
  • The precise status of regular meetings.
  • The status of guests and any other invitees at regular meetings.
  • What would any club-which-is-also-a-branch need to provide by way of further cover so that all club members and guests - all non-IPMS-members - were covered? The interface needs to be watertight so that a claim cannot be denied because it 'slipped through the cracks'.
  • Whether a Branch or SIG is covered at a non-IPMS show as being representatives of the main society. This would seem superfluous in most circumstances as a show should have it's own insurance and insurers don't pay out twice, but this does assume that everyone else's cover is adequate.
  • Similarly, what is the status of a non-IPMS organisation attending an IPMS-organised show, either by invitation or because thy've paid for space (traders will be businesses, and will be expected to have their own Employers Liability Insurance)? Are they covered, and if not what does the interface to the IPMS insurance look like?
Clearly this is a bigger issue than it must have at first appeared to the Executive Committee, and will not be resolved in short order. Fortunately we are not organising a show, so we can watch from the sidelines.

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