The old saying about necessity being “the mother of invention” also seems to hold true for the insurance industry. With the number of sports related injuries on the increase in the U.K. – there are an estimated 20 million sporting injuries each year – it was perhaps inevitable that a farsighted underwriter would enter such an inviting niche market.
Lloyd’s announced just such an initiative with the launch of Syndicate 3334. Called “Sportscover,” it’s headed by an Australian father-and-son team Peter and Christopher Nash. The new syndicate “will offer a wide range of amateur sports insurance products from personal accident cover to general liability,” said Lloyd’s. “It will also offer property and contingency insurance for individuals, sports clubs and associations.”
“The time seemed right to launch this venture,” explained Peter Nash on the Lloyd’s Website (www.lloyd’s.com). Nash, an “active underwriter and himself a former professional sportsmen – he played Australian Rules Football for North Melbourne FC, added: “If you want to market a product on a worldwide basis, then Lloyd’s, without exception, is where you need to be. There are so many things that can go wrong with the human body. It’s important to get the right level of cover, whatever line of amateur sport you are in and at whatever level.”
Lloyd’s noted that “sporting injuries tend to happen in either one of two ways – impact injuries, such as suffering from a rugby tackle, and in sports such as cycling and running, where injuries occur from continual overuse of the muscles and joints.”
Sportscover was founded in 1986 in Australia with offices in Vanuatu, New Zealand, and the UK providing cover for over two million sports men and women throughout the world. This is their first move into the Lloyd’s market. “We work with all sorts of groups from Yachting Australia to the Welsh Badminton Association. We cover anything from basketball to golf clubs, soccer to table tennis, martial arts to gymnasiums. If you can go out at the weekend and play it, we’ll insure it,” Nash stressed.
“In Australia we are the pre-eminent amateur sports insurer. There isn’t a lot more market that we can achieve in Australia and with London being the center of the insurance world it was inevitable that we’d move to London.”
Lloyd’s also indicated that (despite concerns about rising obesity levels in the UK), involvement in sport activities is on the increase. Nash noted: “There aren’t many major differences between the UK and the Australian market except that there is a slightly higher participation level on a per capita basis in Australia. But the UK is improving very quickly. The more discretionary time people have the more they want to play sport. The vast majority will have participated in some sporting activity in the last 30 days or be about to participate in the next 30 days.”
He’s also looking forward to London hosting the Olympic Games in 2012, when he expects the country to “explode with sporting activity. Even for a sports-mad country like Australia, we noticed a massive upturn in sports participation before and after the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. We fully expect the UK to follow suit on the back of feel good factor from London 2012.”
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