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Insurance Implications of Lockdown Easing in England

Insurance Implications of Lockdown Easing in England

Following the Prime Minister’s broadcast on Sunday 10th May announcing the first stage of easing lockdown restrictionsin England, the British Horse Society and British Equestrian (formerly the BEF) have shared further advice on how this impacts on riders, coaches and yard owners in the equine industry.

As lockdown restrictions begin to be eased, the latest advice from the BHS is that:

“We are encouraging our members and the wider equestrian community in England to resume riding whilst maintaining social distancing and staying alert to control the virus. Riding schools, facility centres and livery yards in England may re-open from Wednesday 13th May 2020 whilst observing the current Government guidance in relation to social distancing.”

British Equestrian have added that:

“Coaches can travel to yards for face-to-face training in controlled outdoor environments as long as distancing is adhered to throughout. Coaches must ensure that necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provisions are put in place.”

All are being actively encouraged to check that their insurance cover remains valid as this will differ with each provider. We are pleased to confirm that, providing government guidelines are being followed and all legal requirements are being met, all our policies continue to remain unchanged by coronavirus therefore cover is unaffected. Please note, if you have reduced or suspended your cover you will need to make sure this is back in place before resuming your activities.

So, what does this update mean for riding schools, facility centres and yards directly?

Being able to re-open is exciting, but implementing social distancing may seem daunting. An update from British Equestrian is due to follow in the coming days to help ease this worry and suggest guidelines these facilities will be able to follow. We will share this information with you once it is published.

Venues must conduct full risk assessments and ensure that the required public health, hygiene and social distancing measures are implemented effectively.

If you reduced your insurance cover during the lockdown, whether to save money or to adjust to the temporary needs of your business, make sure you check that the cover if still as required for re-opening. For example, you may have reduced the number of staff on your policy if they were furloughed. If they are returning to work, you will need to add this cover back onto your policy. 

What does this mean for coaches?

Coaches are permitted to travel to yards in order to give training, but it is important that social distancing is maintained throughout the duration of their visit as well as measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provisions.

If riding a client’s horse, the advice is that this should only take place where any shared clothing, tack or equipment has been appropriately disinfected and the two-meter social distancing rule is still followed.

During the initial lockdown, we offered coaches the opportunity to suspend cover for the uncertain period. If you took advantage of this, get in touch to get your insurance cover reinstated – it’ll only take one phone call and you’ll be ready to get your sessions underway again.

Some coaches may prefer to switch their methods to virtual teaching instead of visiting yards straight away. We can include cover for this on your insurance policy for no additional premium, simply let us know you’ll be carrying this out and we will add the cover to your existing policy. 

What does this mean for riders?

It is great news for all that riding is once again being encouraged. It is a form of exercise that is naturally socially distanced in most situations and has multiple physical and psychological benefits for those who take part.

For many, this brings the question of whether the ‘essential travel only’ restriction has also been lifted as part of the latest update, to enable you to transport your horse and take advantage of the re-opening facilities or lessons at your coaches’ yard. British Equestrian have confirmed:

“Riders are now permitted to transport horses to a venue for an individual lesson or facility hire outdoors. They may meet with one other from outside their household, which may be a coach or other participant, all with the proviso that the appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices are in place. Those involved in travelling to or from a venue must all be from the same household.”

We want to reassure our motor policyholders that our policies remain unchanged so you are covered to transport your horse during this time. If you are beginning to use your horsebox again and you reduced the cover to Third Party, Fire and theft cover during lockdown, we would encourage you to increase this back to fully comprehensive cover before making a journey. You can see the clear differences between what’s covered on each of these options here.

Whilst the NHS is working within capacity, British Equestrian are also urging people to consider “their capabilities and the fitness of their horse”  when utilising these venues or bringing their horse’s back into work.

Some owners may have reduced their horse’s insurance to a lower class of use during lockdown to save. Again, if you will be bringing them back into work and stepping back up a level, ensure your policy reflects the activities your horse will be doing.

The situation continues to be closely monitored by British Equestrian and the BHS. They will continue to follow direction from the UK government to strengthen lockdown or tighten travel restrictions as required, which could lead to a revision in the position on riding and training in England. Read the full statement from British Equestrian and the full statement from the British Horse Society.