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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local grassroots mountain bike club is looking into the process of becoming an IMBA chapter member. We were really excited about this until we got the insurance quote from RJF. It seems like we'd have to do a fair bit of fund raising each year in order to cover the cost, which none of us are too thrilled about doing. Do most of you go through RJF or do you use someone else? How much are you paying per member?
 

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We are doing the same thing. An affiliate now, looking at the chapter option. When RJF came in we looked at options, but there are none better that we could find. It is a heck of a deal, just stay with standard features, nothing articulated, as Fattirewilly states.
 

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Our club talked to a couple lawyers about our exposer to lawsuits. We were considering D&O as well as general liability. Their take was at least in Colorado, for a small, all volunteer 501 like ours we have better ways of spending our money. For someone to sue us they'd have to show either extreme negligence or criminal intent. As long as we exercise a normal standard of care in trail projects (safety talks, trained crew leader supervision, hard hats, etc) social rides, (giving the participants good information, having a lead and caboose, etc) social activities (not serving drunk people, not having events in sub standard buildings) and so on. We will make use of waivers, making sure everyone signs one (even though nobody reads them). One thing they did recommend that I hadn't thought about was we indemnify the officers of the organization in our bylaws so we did that.

We also partner with government agencies a lot and when we do that we are under their umbrella.
 

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Our club realizes the chances of getting sued are extremely low, but we couldn't operate without it. Most of our land manager partners require us to carry insurance in order to work with them. We also already have certain volunteers who will not take on positions of leadership in our group already out of worries of being in a lawsuit even though we carry the RJF insurance. If we decided to not carry the insurance, many of our most valued leaders and board members would stop volunteering for our group. No matter how low a chance of getting sued, I feel better knowing we have insurance. Not sure I would continue on with my volunteering if we weren't covered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the replies. We're just trying to figure out if there are any other options, but it doesn't look like there are. We have to have insurance in order to work with our local land management partners (NYS DEC) as well; that's why it's so important that we have it.
 

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Do you do trail building? If not, then you probably don't need the full RJF policy. What is unique about their policy is they cover trail building activities. If you don't do trail building, and only act as volunteers within the DEC AANR program you might not need the full policy.

You might be able to get by with their basic club coverage, or you could look into the McKay policy. McKay was the IMBA insurance agent until a couple years ago. But it's important to note IMBA dropped them due to the fact that they no longer provide coverage for trail building.
McKay Insurance - Welcome!

But if you do trail building outside an AANR, the RJF policy is your best and quite possibly your only option. SMBA has the full RJF policy because we build trail on the land we lease, we pay about $8 per member.

BTW, were you at KT (monkeyfest) this past weekend?
 

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If you are trail building, it will be hard, if not impossible to find a substitute for RJF. They have the only product that actually covers what we do. Also, since IMBA clubs come together and buy it in a group, it lowers the price. I doubt a single group would have the buying power to find a better deal if another product even exists.

In fact, the coverage we had under McKay was not covering us as well as this new coverage under RJF covers us. McKay was a landscapers insurance used to cover what we did. RJF was designed by people who understand trail building and the risks that come from it. Our new coverage is much better for all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
jmitchell13--we do build trails. We do have coverage through the current AANR agreement we have at Shindagin Hollow State Forest. We'd like to expand into other areas in and around Ithaca, though, and become an IMBA chapter, which also requires club insurance. We'd like to start applying for grant funding to help with the costs of building and maintaining trails, and that's been a bit challenging without 501(c)3 status.

Anyway, it does seem that this is the best option. It never hurts to ask to see what is out there, right?

And yes, I was at M'fest this past weekend. Jim, is that you?? :D
 

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jmitchell13--we do build trails. We do have coverage through the current AANR agreement we have at Shindagin Hollow State Forest. We'd like to expand into other areas in and around Ithaca, though, and become an IMBA chapter, which also requires club insurance. We'd like to start applying for grant funding to help with the costs of building and maintaining trails, and that's been a bit challenging without 501(c)3 status.

Anyway, it does seem that this is the best option. It never hurts to ask to see what is out there, right?

And yes, I was at M'fest this past weekend. Jim, is that you?? :D
Yup that's me!
I'd say the RJF policy is your only option.

Good luck in Ithaca, I might be out that way later this fall for work and plan to hit up Shindagin while I'm there.
 

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I would need to look at the paperwork but i know we get ours through a deal with the american hiking society. It was by far the cheapest we could find and we have more coverage than another local club that pays 3 times as much.
 

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While our club hasn't been sued, we have gotten letters from lawyers considering suits. RJF and IMBA both have done an excellent job in helping use with these cases.

If you are not insured, then you would have to hire a lawyer to help you, at your cost, even if the case has no merit.

It is just a matter of time before someone tries to sue you. When it happens, you will want to be supported by an insurance company that can and will fight for you.

When considering the coverage. It is more than just the dollar amount. If you are insured by someone that does fully understand what you do (power tools, chainsaws, ditch witches, TTFs, bridges, events, etc...), then they may not support you when you need them.

Take the time you spend on trying to find other insurance and put it towards a fund raiser event.
 

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While our club hasn't been sued, we have gotten letters from lawyers considering suits. RJF and IMBA both have done an excellent job in helping use with these cases.

If you are not insured, then you would have to hire a lawyer to help you, at your cost, even if the case has no merit.

It is just a matter of time before someone tries to sue you. When it happens, you will want to be supported by an insurance company that can and will fight for you.

When considering the coverage. It is more than just the dollar amount. If you are insured by someone that does fully understand what you do (power tools, chainsaws, ditch witches, TTFs, bridges, events, etc...), then they may not support you when you need them.

Take the time you spend on trying to find other insurance and put it towards a fund raiser event.
That's exactly the main thing we worry about and one big reason we carry the insurance. Who wants to pay thousands of dollars for a lawyer to defend you against a lawsuit with no merit. Get the insurance, it is worth it. All lawyer fees are covered against these stupid lawsuits, plus if there ever is a real lawsuit, you're ready to go. We actually haven't had your experience quite yet, but we were close a couple of times. Luckily, the lawsuits were so ridiculous, they went nowhere.
 

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I would really make sure that if you get a policy to cover your trail building activities through the American Hiking Society that they understand what they are covering in a mountain bike trail building club. I haven't seen their insurance package myself, but I would be worried they may not understand what they are covering from a rider injury standpoint on your trails and technical features. I am sure they understand trail building and the risk it causes to your volunteers, but I have to wonder whether they know what they are getting into as far as injuries on our trails and features. From what I understand, RJF has the first insurance package that really covers all that mountain bike trail building clubs need. The people who designed the product are riders, trail builders, and volunteer in clubs just like us. It is spendy, so I don't blame anyone for finding a good deal, just make sure it covers you for everything you need.
 
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