How has AIM Helped Members During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

When the National lockdown was announced in March 2020 it affected every AIM Member. Despite the schemes announced by Government like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the more recent Job Support Scheme, without being allowed to open or open fully, there have been some very difficult decisions to make and some Members have still not been able to reopen even partially.

To provide as much assistance and support as possible, AIM adjusted Members’ covers to reflect the reduced risks, covering just the essentials, and in turn provided refunds or amended monthly direct debits to ensure more money remained in your businesses. AIM also offered a 3 month payment holiday to any Members who paid monthly to assist with cash flow problems.

The AIM team have been working at home, answering your questions and concerns as quickly and as best they can, as well as juggling their own personal lives with home schooling and reduced childcare facilities.  With over 750 members and a small but dedicated team this was not an easy undertaking.  We have been reviewing risk assessments and helping you navigate the maze of Government guidance as restrictions were eased and local lockdowns imposed. All of the team have been grateful for your understanding and support in these unprecedented times.  With news about the vaccine roll out and a New Year upon us we know many of you will be looking to the future and planning for the restart of the outdoor industry and your businesses.  We hope that the Mutual continues to feature in your plans as your choice for liability cover.

AIM has also been working with organisations like the IOL and the UK Outdoors body, Save Outdoor Ed and Save Your Outdoor Centres to lobby Government to restart the outdoor industry.

As to the future and what 2021 will bring, we know there is still uncertainty about when the sector will be back up to running fully again.  With staff on furlough and very few or no activities being run,  the likelihood of claims is significantly reduced, but you should still check your property (equipment and buildings) regularly to ensure that there are no issues and that they remain secure.

Unfortunately we cannot provide another payment holiday as we did in the initial lockdown when the period of closure was uncertain. However, we do understand the financial difficulties and anxiety the ongoing pandemic is causing and have already helped hundreds of Members with their renewals by talking through their requirements and providing reduced cover where possible.   As you come around to your renewal AIM will work with you to provide as much flexibility as possible to ensure you aren’t paying for cover you don’t need presently, with the opportunity to scale it up when you do.

This is your Mutual and we want to work with you to ensure we are keeping you informed and reacting to your needs and requirements.

Business Interruption – FCA ruling

We are aware of the judgement handed down by the Supreme Court on the FCA test case and whilst we do not believe it changes the position in relation to cover provided by AIM we have referred the matter to our legal team for independent review.  The FCA highlighted that each policy must be considered against the detailed, “complex” judgement to work out what it means for any particular policy.  This as you can imagine will take time to fully understand and as soon as we have a final answer this will be circulated to the Members of the Mutual that this may affect.

We would like to thank you for your continued patience.

AIM Update 8 – Unoccupied Premises Guidance

Following the announcement by the Government on 4th January 2021 regarding a second National Lockdown as well as similar actions taken by the devolved nations, we thought it would be helpful to refresh the guidance we gave in our March update regarding unoccupied premises. With the colder weather we have been experiencing, some are more prudent now than ever.

In the period January to December 2020 AIM saw an increase in the number of theft claims by 36% compared to the same period in 2019.

For premises that are temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak we recommend the following steps should be taken to protect against loss of damage.

  1. Utilities and Protection Systems

If your site is closed and there is no need to re-enter during the period in which the government advises people to remain in Lockdown you should turn off electricity, gas and water supplies at the mains (and where reasonable to do so drain down water systems) other than those services required to maintain:

  • critical business infrastructure to allow the operation of your business and support temporary home working arrangements
  • burglar and fire alarms
  • sprinkler systems
  • Other risk protection systems or devices i.e. CCTV.

Where practicable, you must maintain these systems in working order

  • locks and all other protective and security devices including gates and other perimeter security should be in use
  • where water systems have not been drained down and/or where there is a sprinkler installation you must maintain the central heating system to prevent freezing
  1. General good housekeeping
  • You should try to remove all internal waste and position external bins as at least 5 metres from the buildings (or otherwise as far as possible where this is not possible) and secure the bins in position where this is possible
  • Where possible and provided the travel to and from the premises is in line with the latest Government advice please try to undertake an internal and external inspection of your buildings at least every 7 days and rectify any defects in the fabric or security devices that may compromise the integrity or security of the building as soon as possible. It is advisable to keep a record of when the visits were carried out and what action you undertook to repair defects.
  • Please remove post from the letterbox during each visit
  • If you have an alarm that alerts you to either a break in or fire, it worth considering having a contingency plan in case the primary person(s) responsible for responding to alarm activations need to self-isolate or are ill.
  • Please let us know soon as you become aware of any illegal entry to the premises whether or not any damage has occurred
  • If we have made specific requirement of you with regards to security, and as a result of the ongoing situation you are unable to comply with these measures please contact your usual AIM contact and we will be happy to work with you to find a solution


Outdoor Education Line

AIM Member, Releasing Potential and the UK Outdoors organisation, have offered the attached poster for use which uses the idea that as we travel from birth to adulthood, Outdoor Education can play an key role in someone being able to positively contribute to society.  The train line analogy explains the journey we go on when engaged with the outdoors and the consequences of either engaging with or not engaging with nature.

Please share, include in your website, print it off or ask Releasing Potential or a copy to help promote the importance of Outdoor Education Centres. This was produced in support of the campaign #saveoutdoored, and supporting the work of UK Outdoors (

If you do share it, use it or have comment we would appreciate any feedback that you may have.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.



UK Outdoors – Restart Outdoor Education 2021

Recent developments have led to UK Outdoors issuing the following statement regarding Government’s roadmap to restarting Outdoor Education by Easter 2021.

Health and Safety spot checks and inspections during COVID-19

We know that many outdoor providers cannot operate at the moment but for those AIM Members who are able to operate, we think it’s important to be aware that the Health & Safety Executive are carrying out health and safety spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses during COVID-19.  Please make sure you view the video and link to the HSE page to keep up to date and to ensure you are fully compliant.

By calling and visiting premises and speaking directly to employers, they can check the measures that you’ve put in place are in line with government guidance.

AIM’s support to the Outdoor Sector – Gavin Williamson

School Residential Trips

We know that many providers are affected by the Government Guidelines surrounding school residential trips and felt it was important to show our support and if possible lobby government over the lack of future planning.

In September 2020, our Chairman Andrew Gardiner and Mutual Manager Sophia Reed wrote to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education to highlight the main issues that need to be addressed to save outdoor provision and to enable many providers to plan and continue the valuable work they do.

We continue to support the work of UK Outdoors and other bodies in the outdoor sector to ensure our voices are heard.


Government Guidance – National restrictions from 5th November

The following guidance is available from the Government website which includes information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.

We understand that amongst the list of the businesses to close these will include climbing walls and indoor bouldering centres.  We understand that for many AIM Members this will be devastating news.

We are in contact with the Association of British Climbing Walls to support Members with information if available.

We continue to support the #Saveoutdoored and #Saveyouroutdoorcentres campaigns and urge AIM Members and those involved in the outdoor sector to do the same.

AIM’s support to the Outdoor Sector

Create a Coronovirus NHS QR Code for your venue

Use this service to create a QR code for display in your venue. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should create and display a QR code if you are:

  • a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public
  • an event which is taking place in a physical location

If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location. You can add multiple locations in the service.