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cromptonnut

Insurance and boring stuff like that

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Hi all

 

I realise that we may be some way off yet until we are ready for our first modular meetup, but following suggestions by others around the forum more knowledgeable about these things, I've been looking into insurance policies.

 

I approached Magnet Insurance, who advertise in the model press as specialist hobby insurers.  Having explained a bit about modular meetups (much to the bemusement of the guy at the other end of the phone) he seemed to think that a small group/club insurance policy would cover our needs.

 

For £2 million public liability cover and £10,000 "all risks" cover at the venue (stock falling off of track/being nicked through to the venue burning down with our layout inside if I understood him correctly, although there's probably an excess tucked away in the small print), I got the following prices.

 

For a "one off" one day event policy the cost would be £53.00

 

For a annual policy that would enable us to meet up to a certain number of times (most likely far more than we would ever use) the price was about £150.00.

 

The annual policy covers us wherever we meet under the "SECAG" banner (whose name I asked for a quote in) and I believe that I, as the policyholder, would not necessarily need to be present just to know that the event was happening.

 

Obviously this, including venue hire, is going to be a chunk of change which I can't personally pay out of pocket up front of a meeting so I'd be looking at the following options.

 

1) SECAG members "core group" of the insurance cost shared between members (easy sums, 10 of us throw £15 in the pot, for example) plus a contribution towards venue hire on each occasion we meet.  Insurance renewed on an annual basis so as more people get committed/involved, the price per person comes down.

 

2) SECAG "occasional members" and visitors not part of the core group, a contribution towards insurance of say £5 per meet they attend, plus a contribution towards venue hire.

 

Any "spare money" goes in the pot towards reducing costs for our next meet up or insurance renewal - or nicer biscuits :)

 

Clearly it's likely to be next year some time at the earliest once we start looking at organising a meeting but I wanted to gauge interest to see what people thought of this idea and interest before we start talking about collecting money and other boring stuff.  I wouldn't worry about insurance until we actually had a date planned for the meeting.

 

Just to throw some ideas in the pot, if you are a 'core member' then after your third meeting in a year you are paying less than an occasional member who attends 4 meetings a year.

 

Obviously some meetings may be in someone's garage with just 2 or 3 of you, other meetings may be in a hall that costs £150 to hire for the day.  But we would still be covered.

 

What do people think about this?  Clearly it may be beneficial for us at some point to open up an SECAG "bank account" of some description but I'd need a couple of volunteers as I believe they are usually two signatories required. 

 

Are there better options that I haven't thought about?

 

Over to you...

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That sounds like a good plan to me 'nut. But if we are getting into having bank accounts, insurance, etc in the SECAG name then maybe we need to look into having something like a committee of core members for "management" of the group. eg. chairperson who's name everything is in, treasurer who looks after money and is second signatory etc, secretary who looks after any admin stuff that may arise.

 

I realise that this may be a bit complicated for our needs but if there is money involved then we need to make sure that everything is covered properly and one person doesn't get stuck with a big bill if others drop out.

 

Just my 2p,

 

Gary

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Quite agree and thank you for volunteering... which position would you like to apply for?  :sarcastichand:

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I would be more than happy to volunteer for any position needed. Life is returning to normal again now so I will have plenty of time to give to the post.

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i would look at worst case scenario at your larger events. if there is a total loss (say 15 or 20 layouts through a fire in the night) who is covering those layouts?

 

each individual layout MAY be covered under the respective owners household policy if it extends to exhibiting away from the home.

 

failing that then look at the cover afforded should the group have a total loss from say an overnight fire. 10 or 15 layouts plus controllers and stock would surely not be covered by £10,000?

 

its certainly prudent to cover the public liability risk and £2m these days is generally considered the minimum so needs to cover rebuilding of your largest venue if a total loss was your fault.

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you need to examine the possible issues involving member to member claims.

 

you mention small garage meets and a visiting member could come and knock your £250 loco to the floor. personally i wonder if the offending members household insurance would cover this under its liability cover for the policyholder when away from home if any.

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It is a minefield and although I have organised exhibitions in the past with my previous club, I didn't get involved in the "running of the club" so things like insurance etc are a bit of an area I know little about.  The purpose of this thread was to try and fish out people who do know :)

 

It wouldn't be overnight anyway, so the venue wouldn't be unattended when we're using it - it's purely for the purpose of modular meetups that we are looking for rather than exhibition type events that are open to the general public.

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ive an insurance background but dont want to be the guy on the hook as this is not an area of insurance i profess to know much about but will help where possible.

 

the important cover is the legal liability and that should cover claims against any members of your group that cause damage to third party property or injury to others (a policy might also cover a claim say if one member drops a trestle table onto another members foot and he ends up off work for 3 months etc) but this extension of cover is by no means a given. this is usually part of a more comprehensive club policy not an event insurance.

 

i understand the complications here because it sounds like no two gatherings are the same and some might be rather casual meets in other members garages or lofts etc....

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To add to my earlier comments I have a "slight" insurance background having worked for 18 months for a company that sold business insurance including to clubs (The company I worked for owns the website www.clubsinsurance.co.uk amongst many others). I would not like to comment on what we would need atm and would want to discuss it further first. ThaneofFife has raised some good points that I would not of thought of.

 

However once I do know what we would definitely need covering I have contacts at Aviva, HCC and Hiscox who I'm sure could be persuaded to help us out following a trip to the links.

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Hi Blue, please feel free to make some investigations and see what you can come up with.  If you can PM me your email address I'll forward you the email I got from Magnet that has all the policy quotes etc that probably makes more sense to you.

 

Basically what I described was

 

- Small scale events to invited guests only, not open to the general public.

- Could be held in different venues not just one location.

- Any number of times during the year (although there may be limits that will reduce our policy - I'd say 12 meets is probably more than enough).

- Public liability insurance.

- Cover for member's stock, boards etc whilst at the venue (none of which is left unattended overnight - I would only expect to do one day events around 8am-5pm type of timings.

- No "live steam".

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I haven't got any details in front of me but I seem to remember that the normal Magnet Exhibition Insurance covers layouts "in transit" (other vans are available!) so that you have cover from home to home and not just at the show - that may be an extra to the type of policy they have offered you ?

 

 

 

.

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If I'm reading it right? It seems that an insurance policy for a local group would be the same as an insurance policy for a national group in cost? So maybe one national policy?

 

So in order to generate greater funds maybe a national "Dave/BritMod" Society should be formed to cover insurance, buy control equipment, produce a dedicated website etc... or is this getting to deep at the moment and goes against the open to all principal, personally I wouldn't be interested in any committee position but perhaps there are some out there who may want to take this on at some stage.

 

As per the other thread that is discussing a possible meet its probably best to wait until after Coventry and we get an indication from Andy as to where the official line is going with the priciple. 

 

Cheers

Steve

Edited by Steve-e

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We may be "thinking too far ahead" at the moment but certainly no money would be changing hands for some time - and it would be silly to take out a policy now and not actually meet until next April, for example.  Hence the "thinking about it".

 

As far as I know, apart from one other person who has suggested a modular meet, nobody else is thinking where we are yet, and I think only 3 or 4 people have actually started building a module anyway.

 

Hopefully, as you say, once Coventry is out of the way, Andy Y will be able to give us more of an indication of where all this is heading.

 

Certainly my thoughts were definitely to keep all this "open to all" - it was just that we set up this area group for modellers in the south east corner of the UK in the same way that SWAG and others operate.  The only reason for the title of a "core group" is that someone has to pay up front for an annual policy (if we go down that route) so isn't it only fair that those paying up front showing a commitment should get a small advantage costwise over the occasional visitor or someone who wants to come along to see what we're all about? 

 

As you say, it may well be that there is some annual way to cover insurance - and then all that's needed for when groups of people want to meet up is for someone to find a venue, get "buy in" from sufficient people up-front to make it a viable and cost-effective event, and that would be the same whether it's 3 or 4 of us that want to meet in someone's garage locally or 300 RMWebbers hiring the NEC for a weekend.

 

I would certainly guess the former, rather than the latter, is going to be the more common thing overall.

Edited by cromptonnut

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Nick and I discussed a similar topic on the train yesterday around affiliation with an existing club based on the fact that some have premises. (Crawley) and most if not all will have Insurance. The one day event cover is I think overly expensive when compared to the covers provided by the annual policy. As a subgroup or part of an existing club we could benefit from both access to premises and their insurance so I would reccomend pursueing that as an option in the startup phase so we don't have to deal with these costs up front. If we start adding room hire , one off event insurance, catering etc to our costs it's going to crate some exclusivity and without a large group being involved initially some part of the group are going to have to cover initial costs and then look to recoup from other attendees ( door fees) Yuk.

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One of the big problems with using an existing club premises is that they are often full of club layouts being worked on, and more often than not they are only for club members to use. Rightly so in my opinion, as the club primarily operates for the benefits of paid-up club members who contribute to the running costs of their premises rather than "occasional outsiders" like us who are simply piggybacking their facilities to save ourselves some money.

 

I popped along to the Crawley club a while ago and although there was lots going on, and they have great premises, it was wedged full of layouts (as you'd expect) with no possibility for another layout until one of the current club layouts was retired, then everyone wanting to build a layout had to get support from other members and present to the committee who awarded the "right" to build the layout, the rest had to wait until the next opportunity.  Annual membership was around £100 which was reasonable but as at the time there was little of interest to my personal needs going on at the club and a good chance I may not be able to visit more than once a month due to personal circumstances, I didn't pursue membership further than a visit.  They do a great show and I am sure they have plenty going on to interest a lot of modellers but it wasn't for me at the time.

 

One possible way round these things would be for a friendly local club to offer us some space to create a modular layout at their annual show, although I would expect we'd need to have things fully functional and scenic in some format, lots of information to give out to people about the modular concept and people willing to answer questions.  But it's a huge risk to a show manager to offer what could be a fairly large chunk of space to a sight unseen, never operated together before, no information available as it changes every time it's out, layout - having said that, it would be a great 'draw' and to show people that it's perfectly possible to create something in 8ft which most of us probably have, to simple standards, that can be joined up to part of a greater project on regular occasions.

 

However, the downside is that you have to have some sort of organised group that get together on a regular basis to put the modules together and have operating days, so that people have somewhere to bring their modules they've been working on having been inspired by seeing our arrangement at a show - which brings us back to the start of this discussion.

 

The only way that modular will ever really take off is for small groups like ours (and others around the country) to get together and be able to connect our own bits to other people's bits and for others to come along, see it and be inspired to build something to join us for a future meeting.  This will happen in many areas before we see anything as complex as the American sports hall type of meet-ups but someone, somewhere, has to take the lead and push this thing along and make it work for a few of us, for others to join in as it grows.

 

I am sure that similar problems occurred, and were overcome, when the various US and continental modular standards were evolving in their early days - does anyone know how they got round it? 

Edited by cromptonnut

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One possible way round these things would be for a friendly local club to offer us some space to create a modular layout at their annual show, although I would expect we'd need to have things fully functional and scenic in some format, lots of information to give out to people about the modular concept and people willing to answer questions.  But it's a huge risk to a show manager to offer what could be a fairly large chunk of space to a sight unseen, never operated together before, no information available as it changes every time it's out, layout - having said that, it would be a great 'draw' and to show people that it's perfectly possible to create something in 8ft which most of us probably have, to simple standards, that can be joined up to part of a greater project on regular occasions.

 

From our experiences, I wouldn't want to be putting forward a layout at a public show that I wasn't already confident would work "straight from the box"(*) - I don't think you neccesarily need to have built the exact same layout you'd use (though it might help if folk have chance to practice an operating scheme?) - but if you know in advance that most (if not all*) modules are built, are already tested in other setups, are reliable, are to a decent standard, then (because you've done it before) you have the confidence that they *will* come together in whatever format and "just work" on the day - that's what the ideal is.

 

(*There are a few individuals who i'd be happy to take on principle that if they say "I will build and bring my new module and it will be to this plan, and it will work first time, and it will look pretty darn good" and be comfortable that it will be so - because I know that they will produce high quality work, that they will test it properly, and if they say it will happen then it will happen. But the number of those folk that I would trust to do that is quite small, and you're starting from a situation of there being zero existing modules to base the knowledge on.)

 

I am sure that similar problems occurred, and were overcome, when the various US and continental modular standards were evolving in their early days - does anyone know how they got round it? 

 

From "our" perspective, the US Freemo is a mix of individuals, who if they do a meet big enough for insurance to be a likely issue will go the "one off" approach, and builders who are part of existing (NMRA) local area groups (clubs) - which would have stuff like insurance already for stuff done under that groups name. (Interestingly, a group of chaps from the Midlands who participated in the Armitage meet are meeting this very evening to look at what they can do locally, if they come up with anything interesting that's relevant to this topic i'll pass it on!)

 

I guess the issue with the "club" route from scratch is do you have enough interested folk to sign up to pay for it?

 

One thought ref existing clubs, if you all became members, could it be something that happenned under the auspices of that club (IE, under their insurance - assuming it wasn't tied to activities at one adress) - even if you meets to assemble modules were not at the club's venue?

 

 

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Some interesting thoughts there NSE and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

 

I guess the issue with the "club" route from scratch is do you have enough interested folk to sign up to pay for it?

 

That was one of the thoughts from starting this thread.  Certainly within the SECAG area there have been a good few expressions of interest - but as with any thing, whether that follows through to actually building something and paying out money to enable that meet to happen in the first place is another thing.

 

It may well be that initially we do just go down the route of a couple of us meeting "unofficially" to put our boards together and test the principle - although in theory once we've all got a couple of boards that work together in any configuration, any further boards people build that work with the "tested" boards should work also? 

 

Ultimately I think the best solution will be an umbrella "RMWeb club" that can contribute to a national policy and those that want to contribute pay towards it but that may well be a logistical nightmare to actually deal with if in fact such a vague insurance policy could be obtained in the first place?

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