Membership and insurance frequently asked questions

At Swim England’s Teaching and Education conference our Membership team were there answering your questions. Here are the answers to some of the most popular questions from the day:

Will I be covered under my employer’s insurance?

Employers, such as Leisure Operators or Swim Schools should have insurance in place which includes employer’s liability and public liability; so if a claim is made against your employer’s insurance it should cover you.

However, a claim may also be made directly against you as an individual. This is where you need professional indemnity insurance cover.

It may be that as a teacher or coach you are found to be at fault rather than the facility, For example; Teaching or coaching out of their jurisdiction, not as instructed, or above qualification level, then the insurers would look to the teacher or coach for a claim under their insurance.

We would recommend you always check what your employer’s insurance covers.

If I’m not insured can I be sued?

If you do not have appropriate insurance in place then you will be liable for the full costs of any claims made against you.

What is the difference between Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance?

They both cover negligence claims made against you or your business. However, it is the type of negligence that makes the difference. It dictates which of the two policies kick in (both are included as part of Institute of Swimming Membership). Here’s an explanation of each:

Public Liability insurance

  • Public Liability insurance covers you against third party negligence claims for personal injury or property damage.
    In everyday terms this would cover ‘slips and trips’ types of claims – people can slip on poolside or trip over a hazard. Claims could also be for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property or for compensating an injured person.
  • Public Liability insurance pays for your defence and any awards, damages, rectification costs or compensation you are liable for. Your insurance cover needs to be higher than the potential costs of claims otherwise your assets may need to be used to bridge any gap in awards and legal fees for defence.

Professional Indemnity insurance

  • Professional Indemnity insurance protects you against claims made by clients unhappy with your work. This is essential for anyone providing a specialist, professional services such as giving advice, teaching or coaching.
  • If a client thinks (and alleges) that you have made a mistake or been negligent, a Professional Indemnity policy covers the cost of defending you – whether the claim is valid or not.
    If you are in the wrong, your insurer pays any damages, awards, rectification costs or compensation you are liable for – up to your policy’s level of cover.
    Here are 3 examples of real-life claims relating to something that went wrong in a swimming lesson. The claims were directed against the teachers (rather than the pool operator) and they will give you an idea of the range of severity of incident that may set off a claim:

    • ‘The claimant was attending a lesson and upon letting go of the edge of the pool became submerged by a little water. The claimant’s parents allege that she was not properly supervised.’
    • ‘Claimant dived through a hoop and hit head sustaining a dental injury’.
    • ‘Fatality – Child did not resurface’.

We would recommend you have both public liability and professional indemnity insurance, particularly if you are a contractor or freelancer working with different clients regularly.

Who is covered under the Membership insurance?

Institute of Swimming membership insurance provides individual cover. This covers you as a teacher or a coach. It is not business insurance.

Your insurance cover is valid providing you have the approved qualifications in place from an accredited training provider.

We recommend you have a lifeguard qualification; If the pool operator lifeguard is absent at the time that an incident occurs in your lesson or coaching session, then your insurance is invalid if you do not have a relevant lifesaving qualification.

Please check out the RLSS site for National Pool Lifeguard approved qualifications.

I run a Swim School, do I need any other type of insurance?

If you operate under a business name (rather than your name), and/or employ any staff or volunteers to help you, you will need additional business insurance.
If you are a Swim England Swim School you can get a discounted rate. Find out more about Swim England Swim School Membership.

Am I a member as I’m not sure?

All members receive a certificate of insurance and a membership card every year in the post as well as pay an annual fee. Institute of Swimming membership is different from having an account on our website so please check you are covered if you are not sure by contacting us at:

Tel: 01509 640746 weekdays 9 am to 5 pm.

If you would like to learn more about the different insurance types we have put together a quick guide to insurance.