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Uncertainty irks insurers

THE State Government recently unveiled plans designed to help control the spiralling costs driven by the public liability insurance crisis.

The plan includes law reform, government insurance for essential not-for-profit organisations, risk management education, assistance for organisations to arrange pooling to collectively reduce insurance costs, and new laws to protect volunteers from liability.

The Government’s proposed Tort Law Reform Bill will contain a threshold for general damages, capping of economic loss and restrictions on advertising by legal practitioners in the area of personal injuries. The bill will be introduced into the spring session of parliament.

Further reforms will be introduced in a second stage to coincide with amendments to Federal legislation and the national Review of the Law of Negligence.

But even though these reforms are widely regarded as a step in the right direction, it may not be enough to protect fundraising events run by not-for-profit organisations, such as Activ Foundation’s City to Surf Fun Run and the Central Park Stair Climb.

Activ Foundation executive general manager corporate services Con Konsolis told WA Business News the foundation’s general public liability insurance had risen by about 80 per cent, a cost the organisation had been able to absorb. Of greatest concern to the organisation was the uncertainty surrounding the insurance of fundraising events such as the City to Surf Fun Run and the Central Park Stair Climb.

“We are still not sure what impact it [insurance rate rises] will have on those actual events, because we have to do separate policies for those and insurers don’t like, or they no longer allow, them to be included in our main policy,” Mr Konsolis said.

“One of the impacts that stems from the size of the policies for those events is that it may mean we won’t be able to run some of those events, especially the ones that don’t generate a lot of revenue for us.”

He said the future of the City to Surf Fun Run was secure for this year, but claimed the Central Park Stair Climb and the Activ Foundation Golf Day remained very much up in the air. The staging of both events hinged on finding affordable public liability insurance, he said.

Mr Konsolis said he could not remember a claim being made by Activ Foundation in relation to public liability, including all of the volunteers that provided their services to Activ Foundation.

Activ Foundation has not received any formal notification from the State Government in regard to its proposed five-point plan to address the public liability insurance crisis. Mr Konsolis said he was not aware of the proposed five-point plan until he had spoken with WA Business News.

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