IoS Membership Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions we get at the IoS about insurance.

If you have any additional questions, please email a member of our team at

Frequently Asked Questions

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We would highly recommend that you do have insurance. An incident can occur no matter how many or how few hours you work. The purpose of insurance is to protect you from paying the cost of a claim, should one be made. You need the right type of insurance and the right level of cover to ensure you do not have to pay the costs of any claims.

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

Employers, such as Leisure Operators or Swim Schools should have adequate insurance in place which should include 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 - see information below. We would recommend you always check what your employer’s insurance actually covers.

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 (assuming you have both of course). Here’s an explanation of each.

Public liability insurance

IoS provides £20 million worth of cover. 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 or your personal assets may need to be used to bridge any gap in awards and legal fees for defence.

Professional indemnity insurance

IoS provide £20 million worth of cover. Professional indemnity insurance protects you against claims made by clients unhappy with your work. This is essential for anyone providing a specialist, professional service 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 different, real life claims relating to something that went wrong in a swimming lesson that were covered by professional indemnity insurance. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Claimant dived through hoop and hit head sustaining a dental injury.
  3. FATALITY - Child did not resurface.

Our specialist insurers would recommend you have both public liability and professional indemnity insurance, particularly if you are a contractor or freelancer working with different clients on a regular basis.

IoS 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.

Also note: 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 don't have a relevant lifesaving qualification.

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

If you operate under a business name (rather than your own name), and / or employ any staff or volunteers to help you, you will need additional business insurance.

If you are an ASA affiliated Swim School we have arranged a substantial discounted insurance rate through our specialist insurers Howden. If you wish to take up insurance please contact them direct on 0121 698 8050.

Please call a member of the IOS Membership Team on 01509 640746. Depending on the incident, a claim form will be sent to you which must be completed and returned to our Insurance providers for them to assess.