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Autumn 2010 Snow conditions
Posted: 09 November 2010 12:56 PM   [ # 31 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24
snowcrazy - 09 November 2010 12:25 AM

I must say I find your comments very ill informed David.

I would have to say, on reflection, it was also some of the reactions to your facebook page that prompted my comment. I think it would have been good to involve someone experienced in insurance / insurance law and a snow professional such as a guide or instructor in your discussions with the insurance companies (I’m assuming your are not a guide or ski instructor or an insurance expert). You still can still do that and I think that would add real value to the conversation.

I haven’t really seen any tightening of “punter” policies over the last 5 years. The get-out clauses do not seem to have changed much and are certainly are the same as CNA (a big insurance underwriter) had in place at the time of the Tignes accident in the spring 2005. The policies are clearly not aimed at serious off-piste skiers but at holiday skiers who will be dabbling, probably with an instructor or guide. They have been and clearly still are a minefield for anyone going off piste when the avalanche risk is significant, level 3 or above. What insurers maybe haven’t caught up with is just how many of their clients are now doing serious adventure skiing, maybe with their mates.

If you think of the insurance business as mutualizing risk then as long as the payouts for incidents are less than the money earned from premiums the insurer is happy and they don’t have to worry about the details of individual incidents and don’t have to worry about the so called get out clauses. This seems to be the basis that CN operate under as their is no mention of exclusions in their policy document, at least if you are in France. What they have to watch out for though is the “black swan” type event where they have a huge payout, maybe 3 people killed after their client triggers a slide (something like the Swiss event we’ve discussed) or a change in attitude such as more people skiing off piste or touring (which ties into your concerns).

Where I think “you” (or people on your FB page) have made an error, and I respect your right to disagree, is to look at these policies, get some feedback from insurers then try to make interpretations as to what that means. Here is an example

So my interpretation of this is, yet another company saying, do not ski in avalanche level 4 (significant risk) and you must always carry avalanche safety equipment on all occasions when off piste.


Here you are interpreting the insurance company’s wording of significant risk as avalanche level 4. So for the thousands of readers of that forum you’ve distilled a highly complex subject down to a 1 - 5 scale which most of them probably don’t understand and so I believe that my comments are justified.

To conclude, and in my humble opinion. I think your research will be invaluable but now close the loop and get some field experts involved and also recognize that you are an authority figure for many people and should be careful how your words will be used and interpreted.

[ Edited: 09 November 2010 01:00 PM by davidof]
Posted: 09 November 2010 01:25 PM   [ # 32 ]  
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2007-10-27

Yet another interesting reply David.

I feel quite strongly that those who have posted on my facebook page have a right to share what they have found out and interpret it as they wish. It does not mean they are right and I have repeated this a number of times that people need to read the details and then come to there own conclusions.

In fact regarding the research into the French law and the articles mentioned in some threads, this was done by a French law graduate and the details regarding the Swiss rules were produced by a German speaking Swiss Instructor. One of those on one forum that has been giving some very useful help is in the Insurance industry and another person is a British lawyer, so there are a number of professionals giving very constructive comments and advice.

As I said in my post in the other thread just now, I agree with you that there is confusion over avalanche levels, and the way the Insurance industry words there documents. They have told us a review is underway. We must now sit back and wait to see how they change things.

I do not agree that the policies are only aimed at the average holiday skier anymore. The BMC, SCUK, SCGB, Snowcard, DogTag etc all provide full season policies for the serious skier/snowboarder. As an Insurance company, they should be aware of the kind of activities these people are likely to be doing and make sure there policy covers them or clearly states that it does not.

This is one of the reasons for this research. Last year a number of people at the last minute found they did not have helicopter cover when off piste, to me at least a very basic thing you must have.

I am sure I could take a little more care in the way I state some things on the forums and will take on board your point regarding that, but this has proved a very useful discussion for many reasons and so with the help of others I hope it will bring about a change in the way policies are written to make it easier for everyone to know clearly what they are and are not covered for.

Posted: 09 November 2010 01:47 PM   [ # 33 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Well I guess you must be a bit annoyed. On one hand people are saying “hey don’t criticize dogtag or whatever” and on the other people like me are saying “why are you even bothering with these kind of policies?”. Well I think BMC, Ski Club are different from Direct Travel.

When you have a fuller picture don’t hesitate to start a new thread here and post a link across to the FB discussion and I will try to keep a more open mind grin

Posted: 09 November 2010 08:15 PM   [ # 34 ]  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  32
Joined  2006-05-01

Edited. As I was put under pressure to make the changes, I will not post on this forum again.

[ Edited: 20 November 2010 03:37 PM by bandit]
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