County Board Development Officer PJ Maher pictured alongside David Bourke of JK Bracken's in 2008.
County Board Development Officer PJ Maher has issued a stark warning that “a club will end up going to the wall” as a result of an insurance claim - Maher argued that clubs in Tipperary were “ignoring exclusions on their public liability insurance” at their peril.
PJ Maher (Boherlahan-Dualla) was speaking at a Committee Meeting of Coiste Chontae Thiobráid Árann hosted by the Sarsfields Centre in Thurles on Tuesday, November 29th.
In his report on behalf of the development committee to the County Board meeting PJ Maher highlighted the fact that the clubs public liability insurance was now governed by a significant number of exclusions on their respective policies. And, he warned that if clubs ignored or failed to realise the significance of those exclusions it could cost them dearly. If, for instance, a club is engaged in a specific activity on their premises and that activity is excluded on their respective policy it could be an issue should a public liability claim be made against that club with relation to that activity.
“There could be a claim and the GAA’s insurers will walk away from it,” PJ Maher told delegates.
“A GAA club will end up going to the wall over this, it is going to happen,” Maher added before appealing to clubs to read the exclusions on their public liability insurance - “don’t ignore it” he pleaded.
The exclusions refer specifically to activities carried out on club premises which are, more often than not, unrelated to the actual playing of Gaelic games.
“There are a huge amount of things excluded in the insurance policy; a huge amount of activities,” PJ Maher added before indicating that once the broker has been contacted with relation to a specific activity it “will extend the insurance policy in most cases without imposing an extra charge”.
It was also decided, following a delegate vote, at the November meeting of the County Board to make it compulsory for all clubs to develop an up-to-date health and safety statement. A “safety statement” is the name given to the document which outlines how an organisation manages their health and safety. It is based upon the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005).
“It is absolutely vital that every club has an up-to-date health and safety statement,” Development Officer PJ Maher explained.
Mr Maher revealed that the County Board Development Committee had negotiated a very competitive fee with the Europlan Group in Clonmel and that Europlan would be in contact with every club in the county with specific relation to their health and safety statement.
“If anything happens the first thing the insurance company will look for is an up-to-date health and safety statement,” PJ Maher explained. It is very difficult for the insurer to defend an action if there is a lack of documentation and if health and safety standards have not been adhered to in the club in question.
The management of GAA grounds and facilities in terms of insurance is now a considerable issue for the association with the vast majority of public liability insurance claims being progressed against the association related to non-GAA activity.
A number of preventive measures, however, can be adopted by clubs with relation to property insurance in terms of carrying out a proper risk assessment, reviewing all club activities, making a distinct effort to maintain club property properly and by the completion of a comprehensive health and safety statement.
If a club has a query related to their public liability insurance or any activity which that club may be engaged in they are encouraged to contact County Board Development Officer PJ Maher directly.
STRATEGIC PLAN SURVEY
Development Officer PJ Maher also revealed that the County Board Development Committee was working to put together a new strategic plan. Mr Maher indicated that clubs would soon be contacted with relation to a survey that the committee was planning to carry out.
“We would appeal for a full response from clubs,” PJ Maher explained.
“We want to know how people are thinking,” the Boherlahan-Dualla man added.
“A huge amount of preparatory work has gone into this,” County Board chairman Michael Bourke revealed.
“If everyone buys into it and commits to it we will learn very valuable information about how the GAA is run in Tipperary and how it could be run better in the future,” Michael Bourke added.