/ BMC Insurance - why I don't use it

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
gooberman-hill 13 Jun 2019

Since there is a discussion of insurance on another thread here, I thought it might be worth articulating why I don't use BMC Insurance.

Let me start by stating that I used to have BMC insurance, and had to use it once when on holiday. My mother (on holiday in Egypt - not with us) had a fall and was in intensive care. The BMC Insurance was fabulous. My entire family (myself, partner, toddler and baby) were on the next plane home - tickets arranged by the BMC and picked up at the airport. We had someone else in the group as well, not on our insurance. There was a ticket for her at the airport too (but we had to pay for that one). I couldn't of asked for more or better help.

So why don't I use BMC Insurance now? Well, the kids have grown up a bit (13 and 10). They love the mountains, they love to climb (the elder did Les Lépidoptères (D 5b) last summer), and they love to ski. And that is where the problem lies.

BMC Insurance will not cover any snowpark activities, jumps, bumps, rails, skicross etc. Try telling a 13 year old and a 10 year old that they can't go to the snowpark because they are not insured. So the only alternative is to look elsewhere. At the moment I'm on Dogtag (although as started on another thread, there may be serious problems there).

It's a real shame. I think that buying BMC Insurance is a great way to support the BMC. I have raised this issue with them every year for the past 4 or 5 years, but nothing ever changes. I'd love to support the BMC by buying their insurance. But I can't risk my kids not being covered in the snowpark.

Steve 

Post edited at 18:38
5
Howard J 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

All insurers limit range of risks they will cover, some more than others.  The BMC's insurance policies are obviously aimed principally at climbers and mountaineers. Their cover includes a lot of recreational skiing but they choose to exclude what they probably consider to be higher risk (in the sense of generating claims rather than the severity of injuries).  The BMC isn't a generic adventure-sports insurer whose business model is based on covering as wide a range of activities as possible, and insurance isn't their core business, By providing a more focused package they may only have to deal with one or two underwriters and it keeps it simple for them.

What you want does seem to pushing the boundaries of what you might expect a mountaineering policy to cover and it doesn't seem at all unreasonable that they see it as beyond their remit or that you should have to look to other insurers who offer a different range of cover.  Similarly, I wouldn't expect my car insurer necessarily to be interested in insuring my bike, although they both use the roads.

2
gooberman-hill 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

Don't agree at all. I expect to pay for a ski policy as an extra on my mountaineering insurance - no problem with that. My point is that the snow-park is a part of the standard ski-resort infrastructure, and it is what all the kids are into. So it should be included as part of the standard ski extension. 

I'm not alone here. I have a whole bunch of climbing friends with kids, and none of the skiers use BMC insurance, because the snow park is excluded - so the BMC insurance won't work for their kids. An annual multi-trip European policy for a family isn't cheap, so there has to be a decent margin going to the BMC. I'd love to be able to support the BMC by buying their insurance, and making sure they get some revenue. Unfortunately I have to go somewhere else.

Steve

9
Stone Idle 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

They also charge a lot more for older climbers despite many being a damn site fitter and more experienced than younger counterparts. A discrete enquiry reveals its down to the underwriter. I can get the same cover elsewhere at half the price, regrettably a no-brained.

1
olddirtydoggy 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

These days insurance policies have add ons you can pick and choose from the menus. Not sure why they can't cover snow sports with an option like that and charge a rate that's sustainable. It's not like snow sports isn't part of mountain sports.

I hear Snowcard are good.

kevin stephens 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

The fact that BMC insurance covers me for north face of the Eiger in winter but not the snow parks on my off piste skiing trips tells me everything I need to know about keeping well clear of the snow parks!

2
Wiley Coyote2 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

>  The BMC's insurance policies are obviously aimed principally at climbers and mountaineers.

The underwriters seem to have very little understanding of climbing or mountaineering if my experience is anything to go by. Or maybe they are just bone idle. I am one of the aforementioned older climbers and had to go through to the 'medical clearance'  desk when I wanted to take out a European rock climbing policy that would, from memory, have covered me up to 5000m. Their first question was could I walk on the flat for 200m without getting out of breath?

I realise this is a standard question on general policies but to ask it of someone taking out a policy that covers trekking, big walls etc seems to indicate that the underwriters either have very little idea of this particular market  or, more likely, are just too plain lazy to re-write their questions.

I'm not with the BMC anymore either.

3
Howard J 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Remember the BMC isn't an insurance broker.  It provides an insurance service for its members to cover activities which, until comparatively recently few, other insurers would touch with a barge pole, or would heavily load the premiums.  No doubt there are other commercial opportunities in the insurance market they could exploit, but that is not what they are for, and it would take away resources from its core functions as well as increasing the commercial risk to the organisation's finances. 

No insurer' policies suit everyone, which is why there is a competitive market offering a range of cover.  The BMC's policies cover all the core activities of climbing and mountaineering, including a lot of skiing, as well as a wide range of other adventurous activities climbers might well do on the side.  They can't cover everything.  

We have recently seen how the BMC's membership fees have had to increase as a result of higher insurance costs arising from a claim.  As a member I don't want the BMC to be taking financial risks by providing cover for peripheral activities which would be better dealt with under appropriate specialist insurance. If you want comprehensive skiing cover then take out a skiing policy.

1
Howard J 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

If you require "medical clearance" the insurers are looking at risks to do with your health, rather than the risks of the activity you are insuring.  These will be standard questions unrelated to the activity.  For someone healthy enough to be considering those activities it should be easy to meet the requirements and it's then just ticking a box so the policy can be issued.  Do you  really want them to apply more rigorous standards if you're taking out climbing insurance?

1
JoshOvki 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

They sound like good reasons not to insure with BMC.

2
spenser 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

The subs increase related to the 3rd party liability insurance while this thread relates to travel insurance, completely different kettle of fish!

gooberman-hill 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

My point is that I don't think it is a peripheral activity. The BMC offers an "Alpine and Ski" policy - great - but that policy isn't fit to cover a resort skiing holiday with my kids.

There is another, more subtle problem. Suppose I have an annual "Alpine and Ski" policy for my family. I then take out a specialist ski policy to cover a resort skiing holiday for a couple of weeks. Suppose I then fall and break an ankle on a piste and get hauled off. I'm double-insured, which is widely considered as not a good thing - insurers start arguing over who should cover the costs, and the result is that payouts are delayed or don't happen.

Steve

4
elsewhere 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

> Their first question was could I walk on the flat for 200m without getting out of breath?

If they don't ask that question then the BMC becomes the soon to be insolvent insurer who covers those rejected by all other insurers who do ask that question.

1
Frank the Husky 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

I think that the BMC excluding snowpark activities (for kids or adults) is absolutely fine. I also think your mother should not have been able to get cover for her Egyptian holiday. The insurance is supposed to be for climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers doing those activities rather than for elderly relatives on holiday or kids in activity centres. I seem to remember that one of the reasons for the BMC premium hike a few years ago was because there was a period when loads of pensioners were using the BMC to insure themselves on cruises, with the attendant rise in claims for pensioner related medical emergencies.

1
Howard J 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Whether or not it is a peripheral activity is a matter of opinion.  For whatever reason the BMC has decided not to include it, and that is their choice. Whilst that may represent a lost business opportunity for the BMC, they are entitled to choose what business they wish to take on, and have presumably decided that this is not worth the additional work it would involve.  That is a commercial judgement for them to make.  All insurers make similar judgements when deciding what and what not to cover.

In my view this it is not a glaring omission from cover under a mountaineering policy, unlike the apparent exclusions and ambiguities being discussed in the other thread.   For most mountaineers, including many who use skis, the policy is sufficient.  If it doesn't meet your particular needs you can insure elsewhere, as you have done.  Other than your wishing to support the BMC, is that a problem?

neilh 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Frank the Husky:

If those people were buying an annual policy then it is perfectly logical for them to expect it to cover other trips than just climbing / mountaineering trips.( snow parks excepted) 

gooberman-hill 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Just to be clear - my mother was not on a BMC Insurance policy. This was a number of years ago, and we were covered under a clause in the policy that covered illness or accident to close family members necessitating cancellation of our holiday.

Steve

1
kevin stephens 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

Or to put it another way, including snow parks to meet the needs of a minority would put up the premiums for the majority who have no interest in snow parks

gooberman-hill 14 Jun 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

I'm not interested in snow parks. I am interested in having a family ski holiday in a resort without being double-insured!

Steve

7
kevin stephens 14 Jun 2019

Previously you had to pay £10 extra for snowboarding, currently this is included at no extra charge in Europe but there is a supplement for elsewhere. Clearly the underwriters take account of the accident rates and cost of claims for different activities and set premiums according. I would suggest that BMC would not be the first choice for a family ski holiday. There are lots of Ski insurance packages more suitable for snow parks that won’t cover off piste without a guide which is much closer to the BMC’s target market 

Irk the Purist 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

I don't use it because when I tried to claim for low value and trivial medical expenses the whole process was ludicrous and so drawn out that I decided to stop pursuing it and insure myself with someone else the next time.

Rob Parsons 14 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> I'm not interested in snow parks. I am interested in having a family ski holiday in a resort without being double-insured!

But why would you expect the BMC insurance policy to cover family holidays?

1
Wiley Coyote2 14 Jun 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> If they don't ask that question then the BMC becomes the soon to be insolvent insurer who covers those rejected by all other insurers who do ask that question.


I think you and Howard J are both missing the point of my post, which was that it was a dumb question to ask someone who is looking for insurance in the Rock category. Any general punbter would take the more basic and cheaper Trek insurance which would cover all they need.

1
elsewhere 15 Jun 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

> I think you and Howard J are both missing the point of my post, which was that it was a dumb question to ask someone who is looking for insurance in the Rock category. Any general punbter would take the more basic and cheaper Trek insurance which would cover all they need.

Rock coverage is cheap compared to insurance for frail and/or elderly. It would be a bargain for somebody who can't walk 200m and they're not excluded if you don't ask.

1
Howard J 15 Jun 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

It's the underwriters who ask these questions.  If you have a potential health problem, either because you've declared one or because you've reached a certain age, they'll look at the risks that it might lead to a claim.  They do that based on broad statistical evidence, not your own individual circumstances or personal level of fitness.  I agree that the question is a bit of a nonsense in this particular situation, but it ticks one of their boxes.

Howard J 15 Jun 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

I've never had to make a claim myself, but when my friend broke his leg on Everest they did a good job of getting him home.  That'll do for me.

John Gresty 15 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

I would have thought that any climber/mountaineer/skier could not resist having a play in a snow park. I know I couldn't, they are great fun. Surprised they are not covered by BMC insurance, as I regarded them as a normal part of a ski holiday. Probably not the main reason for visiting any particular resort, but if one was there, I'd always have a go. Sadly those days are past for me.

John

robhorton 15 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

The wording of what's excluded is:

Freestyle (eg: aerials, big air, halfpipe, ski-cross and slopestyle)

*My* reading of that is that playing around on the small stuff is ok and it's only things like big jumps / half pipe etc that are excluded but there's obviously a question of where the line would be drawn. Have you asked them for clarification?

EdS 15 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Doesn't cover caving either. Where as Snowcard does and the new BCA insurance although aimed at cavers covers general outdoor activities including skiing and climbing

timjones 15 Jun 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

> I think you and Howard J are both missing the point of my post, which was that it was a dumb question to ask someone who is looking for insurance in the Rock category. Any general punbter would take the more basic and cheaper Trek insurance which would cover all they need.

In order to assess the chances that someone is going to keep over with a heart attack then the questions need to be consistent, you cannot ignore the questions because it is climbing policy. 

No insurance company can afford to become the cheap option for the unhealthy because they do not ask the right questions in order to load the premiums if necessary.

1

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.