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Coaches' Liability Insurance Program Q&A

The following questions are most often asked with regards to the Skate Canada Coaches’ Liability Insurance Program. The policy wording held by Skate Canada is always the only legal contract of insurance, and the following is for clarification only.

  1. What is Liability Insurance?
    Liability Insurance is primarily designed to reimburse another for the other’s financial loss arising out of one’s negligence which causes bodily injury to others and/or damage to the property of others.
  2. What is meant by negligence?
    Negligence is commonly understood to mean either the failure to do what a reasonable or prudent person would do in a given situation or doing what such a person would not do in a given situation. This is based on the legal requirement that each of us owes a duty to take care that we do not cause harm to either our fellow man or his property. This duty exists whether the fellow man is on our property or not. Throughout normal training programs and during any carnival, school, show, or competition, each coach has the responsibility to take all reasonable steps to protect the spectators, participants, and others from injury. In the event of injury, a lawsuit may be brought against the coach on behalf of any injured party.
  3. Who can be legally liable for negligence?
    Obviously, one is legally liable for one’s own negligence which causes damage to another. However, it is possible to be legally liable for someone else’s negligence: 
    1. An employer is responsible for the acts of an employee acting in the scope of his/her employment. 
    2. When liability for negligence is assumed under contract, the one assuming the liability is held responsible whether or not he is actually negligent. In your lease for ice or an arena, you may assume the liability of the landlord. It is recommended that you read your lease carefully and if it appears that unreasonable responsibilities are placed on you, discuss it with your lawyer. 
    3. A person having parental authority is liable to reparation for injury caused to another by the act or fault of the minor under his authority, unless he proves that he himself did not commit any fault with regard to the custody, supervision or education of the minor. 
    4. A principal is generally not responsible for the negligence of his agent except in certain circumstances. If you are giving private lessons outside of the Skate Canada club/school activities and hire an assistant coach, you should make sure that this person has valid liability insurance. If he is a registered coach of Skate Canada, then coverage is provided.
  4. How is legal liability established?
    Legal liability may be established in one of the following ways: 
    1. Proof – the one alleging negligence must prove the fact in court;
    2. Settlement – if the facts permit, it may be wise to reach an agreement about negligence and the damage involved (out-of-court settlement). You should not enter into any settlements without first reporting the matter to the insurance company; 
    3. Statute, Common Law, Quebec Civil Code – some circumstances within the jurisdiction of a statute presume negligence exists (e.g. Highway Traffic Act) in which it is necessary to prove “no negligence” to avoid being held legally liable.
  5. Should a coach admit liability if he is involved in a negligence suit?
    Absolutely not! A most important matter in liability insurance is the fact that the insured is not to admit liability or offer to make payment to a third party. The Insurer agrees to defend the insured (even if the suit is groundless) and if the insured admits liability he could both prejudice the defense and invalidate his claim under this policy.
  6. What is covered by the liability insurance provided by this policy?
    The liability insurance provided by this policy is one of the broadest forms available and carries a limit of$5,000,000 per coach. Note: In the event of a claim involving one or more insureds, eg. coach, club/school,member, the maximum amount payable is $5,000,000 any one occurrence.
    Liability policies provide for the following payments: 
    1. (a) Damage arising out of legal liability for injury to, or death of others, or damage to property of others caused by an occurrence up to the limits of the policy; 
    2. (b) Supplementary payments, not part of the policy limits (in Québec only), for defense of the insured, immediate medical aid, court costs taxed against the insured, interest on the insured portion of the judgments against the insured.

      In addition to providing the basic negligence coverage as outlined above, the Coaches’ Liability Policy provides the following extensions:

      Injury Caused by the insured if it is caused while protecting persons or property;
      Tenant’s Legal Liability provides for damages to premises leased or rented by the member coach, subject to a limit of $1,000,000. If the premises is valued higher than $1,000,000, BFL CANADA. should be advised in order to increase the policy limit;
      Personal Injury provides for libel and slander or false imprisonment; 
      Non-owned Automobile protects the coach against possible claims arising out of the use of an automobile owned by one other than the coach, which is used on club/school business. This does not protect the owner of the vehicle who must look to his own insurance for financial protection.
  7. What is not covered by the liability insurance program?
    Liability policies do not cover every legal liability situation; the insuring agreements and exclusions in the policy govern its response. Not covered in this policy are: legal liability for autos, watercraft and aircraft; nuclear energyand war risks; Workmen’s Compensation; property in care, custody or control of the insured; professional malpractice; abuse and/or molestation; intentional acts; among others.
  8. Who does this policy cover?
    Coverage for legal liability for bodily injury or property damage to third parties only applies to coaches registered with Skate Canada. Coaches are covered for all of their Skate Canada coaching activities during the term of the policy.
  9. If I am a member of Skate Canada but I am coaching for a non-member organization, am I still covered?
    The liability insurance coverage will only apply while teaching Skate Canada programs at a member club/school and while instructing Skate Canada members.
  10. Am I insured if I use special equipment such as a harness or trampoline?
    Yes. The Skate Canada coaches’ liability policy will defend you for any suit arising out of the use of such equipment and pay for damages or injuries if you should be found to be legally liable for those damages or injuries. Note that the installation of the harness is not covered under this policy. The person who wishes to install a harness must have his own insurance and should provide you with proof that this particular practice is covered.
  11. Am I insured while conducting off-ice training?
    Yes. The policy covers you while conducting off-ice training, while attending or giving seminars or any others activities you may be engaged in within your capacity as a Skate Canada coach.
  12. I am not presently a member of Skate Canada. Is it possible for me to participate in the Skate Canada Coaches’ Liability Insurance Program?
    No. The master Policy insures only coaches who are members of Skate Canada. If you decide to join Skate Canada, you would automatically be insured as the premium is included in your membership fee.
  13. If a coach wishes to make a claim, must he wait for someone to come from Montreal to begin proceeding?
    The administration of this program is handled by BFL CANADA situated in Montreal with regard to the issuance of certificates and payment of premiums. However, if and when a claim is made, Premiere Insurance Underwriting Services Inc. has made it a practice to appoint an insurance adjuster locally so that the insured can be properly serviced in relation to the claim.
  14. If someone is injured during a training session, will he automatically be paid for his injury?
    No! Regardless of the severity of the injury, payment will be made only if the coach is proved to have been negligent. Accidental injury, where there is no negligence may be claimed under a separate accident policy. Accidental injury is covered by the Skate Canada Participant Accident policy which is available to all registered members including coaches.
  15. If I am a member of Skate Canada but have personally rented ice in order to provide extra instruction to a Skate Canada member or members, am I still covered.
    In order to be covered by the terms of the insurance policy, a registered Skate Canada coach may rent extra ice to provide additional instruction to only Skate Canada members. During this extra ice, at no time may the Skate Canada coach instruct group lessons or provide a group program such as CanSkate. Extra ice may not be scheduled on a routine basis.

Questions/concerns regarding this program should be directed to:

BFL CANADA Risk and Insurance Inc.
2001 McGill College Avenue, Suite 2200
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 1G1


Roxanne Jobin
Commercial-Lines Damage Insurance Broker
Senior Client Executive (Sports & Leisure)
Direct line: (514) 905-4335
(800) 465-2842, extension 143


Serge Roy
Commercial-Lines Damage Insurance Broker
Client Service Assistant (Sports & Leisure)
Direct line: (514) 905-4405
(800) 465-2842, extension 328

Fax: (514) 843-3842
Email: SPORTS@BFLCanada.ca

Approved by BFL CANADA
August 2012

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