Given the timing of this blog I would firstly like to say that I hope all of my readers had an enjoyable Christmas time and that each one of you has a fantastic new year, especially in terms of football and any success you are aiming for.
I think it is time that I covered the issue of the mandatory insurance that we are all made to take out at the start of each season by the SAFA. For any players reading this that might be unsighted on what I am talking about I will give a brief description of what this is.
Every summer each club secretary receives a letter containing an invoice from Sportsguard Insurance demanding payment which must be made before the 1st September. The invoice contains two options which can be seen in this photograph.
The club secretary must decide which option the club wish to proceed with and then send the payment details to Sportsguard. The letter states that this insurance is compulsory for ALL clubs who are affiliated to the Scottish Amateur FA. Sportsguard have a list of all of these clubs and failure to make a payment results in your own league secretary getting onto you to inform you that you cannot participate in games until this payment is made. In turn, Sportsguard in conjunction with the SAFA have every club over a barrel. We have no option to take out our own insurance or for each player to use personal insurance instead. This is a payment which is forced upon us.
I have been involved in amateur football for a long time and I don’t know of any teams who have ever used this insurance. I certainly haven’t, it has just been money that I have handed over each year with no return. I’ve heard a few horror stories of the hoops that must be jumped through to receive very modest payouts and that some legitimate claims were refused altogether. I don’t know enough about these incidents but surely a system for amateur football teams should be made as simple as possible. We aren’t rocket scientists running football clubs.
So let’s look a bit at the numbers. The Scottish Amateur League began the season with 41 teams according to their website http://www.safl.co.uk Assuming that every team in that league took the minimum payment (which I always do) then that equates to £4469 from one league being paid straight into Sportsguards coffers. Every team taking the second more expensive option available would equate to £10,168.
Taking into consideration ALL teams affiliated to the SAFA (Saturday/Sunday/Summer/Over 35) there must be easily well over 900 teams. If I am off the mark with this figure then please correct me. 900 teams paying the minimum is £98’100. I would be astonished if anywhere near that figure has been paid out to amateur clubs. In fact I would be astonished if anything over £5000 had been paid out in the last few years. So what happens to the rest of the money?
Between both options there is a difference in premiums of £139 with the only difference between the payouts being an extra £50 a day on weekly benefit. There is no explanation of what weekly benefit is, how you qualify for it or what condition you have to be in to be eligible. In my opinion this is a very poor policy. If I ensure my car, my home or my dog then I get a pack through my door explaining every eventuality and what exactly I am covered for. With Sportsguard I have received nothing like that but a link to their website. My players cannot view what their insurance covers them for unless they have my log on details either so it is not user friendly for a club.
I understand the need for insurance in the event that God forbid something terrible happens to one of us and we may need it one day but I don’t think we are getting best value for money here or allowed to research our own options. The payout for a broken leg for example is £150. If this was to cause a player to be out of work for a long time then he would be severely out of pocket. The payout barely even covers the cost of the premium. A broken leg is probably the worst injury on the list we are likely to experience. A broken hand comes in at £50. Is this for real, that is so unrealistic for the money this company is taking in from us. Some employers do not have good sick pay options and there is also the fact that a lot of our players do casual work or are self employed. The policy won’t cover loss of earnings for one of my players who works his socks off as a self employed plumber. He would just have to suck it up and take his £50.
Its probably fair to say that if this wasn’t mandatory then most of us wouldn’t take out any insurance at all. Would we really notice any difference though? Does our current insurance give us the peace of mind that it should? Do we have the best possible cover out there for our players? Is the policy worth the paper it’s written on?
I would like to hear your views on this good or bad and it would be great to hear any experiences of Sportsguard and what they were like to deal with. It would also be nice to hear the views of the SAFA as to why we must use Sportsguard and nobody else.
Happy New Year when it comes.