Equine Flu a “wake-up call”

08 Feb 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

A leading sports insurance broker has claimed that the temporary horse racing ban caused by an outbreak of equine flu should act as a “wake-up call” for the sport industry.

Carl Baxter, Sports and Entertainment Broker at Miller Insurance Services LLP, said that the minimum weeklong ban announced by the British Horseracing Association (BHA), threw a spotlight on standard exclusion clauses within event cancellation policies.

He explained: “Your standard event cancellation policy excludes communicable diseases, which are normally aimed at issues that affect humans, Ebola, etc.

“When you are talking about a racecourse, it also excludes things like this (Equine Flu).”

The cancellation is the biggest loss of fixtures for non-weather related reasons since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

Racing is scheduled to resume on 13th February but some in the industry fear that the ban could be extended, potentially even putting the Cheltenham Festival at risk.

Baxter added: “It will be massive if it affects Cheltenham.

“You can buy that (Communicable Diseases) exclusion out for an additional premium, but because it’s been such a long time since an outbreak of something like this, it will be interesting to see whether they have bought it or not.

“When quoting Event Cancellation risks, you often provide Communicable Disease extensions for an additional premium.

“On every single quote that I send out, you always have communicable disease extension. It’s normally a very cheap extension of cover, but budgets are always tight on insurance spend, so often clients might take that risk themselves.

“What I see on a lot of my risks that I place on behalf of clients is that they are always buying terrorism additional premiums, but they are not always buying communicable disease cover.”

The BHA will meet on Monday 11th February to decide when race meetings can resume.

The organisation’s statement said: “The BHA’s veterinary team has today been in contact with more than 50 trainers and veterinarians to allow it to make an informed assessment of the risk of equine influenza spreading.

“Whilst no further positive tests have been received, at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing.

“The disease can take up to three days before symptoms are visible, meaning it will take until Sunday at the earliest before the BHA can gather all the information required.

“A plan will be constructed for the rescheduling of key races – and those which may provide important opportunities for horses to run – which are lost during this period.”

Photo: © Getty Images