AIM’s guide to the Hardening Insurance Market

We are aware of the financial issues that many of our Members are still facing. At the time of writing, we will also be familiar with the new dates for easing of the lockdown and hope that this brings comfort that businesses can start to reopen and once again our Members can provide their much-needed activities.

Unfortunately, over the last 12 months the insurance market has hardened considerably and some insurance customers are finding that prices have increased across a range of different covers.

What is a ‘Hard Market’?

A hardened insurance market usually affects customers in the following ways:

  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Fewer insurers
  • Reduced choice of products
  • More restrictive cover

What causes a Hard Insurance Market?

Like other financial markets, the insurance market also changes depending on supply and demand.  The insurance market usually follows a cycle which fluctuates between a hard market and a soft market. There are many factors that can lead to changes in the insurance market.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, several underlying market factors were contributing towards the insurance market hardening, including:

  • extreme weather events such as Storm Dennis and Ciara affecting property claims
  • interest rates staying low
  • a general rise in insurance claims (particularly in the home and motor insurance sectors)
  • changes to the Ogden rate, the rate used to calculate future losses in high value compensation claims, which also have an impact on the levels of compensation payments made to claimants.

When coupled with pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, these factors have inevitably reduced insurers’ appetite for offering extensive cover or charging low premiums.

How is AIM Supporting Members?

AIM is doing all it can to provide the best, tailored, cover for Members, at the most competitive price, because we fully appreciate that many of our Members continue to face ongoing financial difficulties.

Therefore, when your renewal is due, the team will ask you to provide up to date information on your business so they can provide your quotation and ensure that it is accurately meeting your needs.  This will include details of your annual turnover and wage roll figures and any other information about the activities you provide.  If you are no longer offering or providing a particular activity, please let the team know as you don’t need to be paying for cover you no longer require.   We will always try to be as competitive as possible on prices so please do chat to the team if you have any queries.

We are committed to providing the best service for our Members and if you have any further queries or feedback please do come back to us. 

On Target Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Each year we publish our Autumn Newsletter, we love putting it together, and this year we’ve given Members the chance to tell their stories and share what’s working for them. We’ve heard from The Climbing Hangar, The Outdoors People and BeVenturesome.

Sam Sutton from New Forest Activities has offered some great marketing expertise on how providers can improve their services. Ben at BXM Expeditions has also provided us with a really great piece on mental health awareness.

We’ve also heard from Save Your Outdoor Centres, Save Outdoor Ed and from the ABC on the Climbing the Walls campaigns and we hope that you can support these.

As we have been unable to hold any member events this year we’ve included a section on our Team and Directors of the Board so you can put faces to names.

Plexus Law have provided a update on safeguarding of children, young people and and vulnerable adults in organisations.  This feature also gives some case updates where vicarious liability is discussed.

We hope to see all of you soon at one of our Member Events when we can finally get together safely. In the meantime we will continue to offer the Zoom get togethers that many of you have enjoyed.

Please provide any feedback or questions you may have to


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.

Path Hill Outdoors – Member Profile

Path Hill Outdoors is a non-profit company offering innovative educational and therapeutic programmes based in an outdoor environment. We are known for our intervention programmes for younger people who find the school environment difficult and have been marginalised from mainstream education. We deliver curriculum enhancement days and residential programmes for schools that are designed to match ongoing work in the classroom and organise activities for young people in the holidays.

Path Hill Outdoors registered with Companies House in 2011 so we are approaching our tenth birthday. We have been an AIM member since 2013. Being part of AIM gives us peace of mind. They understand the outdoor industry, our specific needs and being a mutual, fit into our values as a social enterprise.

What I love about Path Hill is the diversity. We work with a wonderful mix of young people, all on different journeys with differing aspirations, skills and needs. Without the requirement to comply to a set curriculum, we can act on the interests of students, respond to seasonal changes, the weather and prioritise a family environment that is both safe and challenging. Coupled with a dedicated staff, a mix of outdoor instructors, artists, play workers and from various trades, I can genuinely say every day is exciting and different.

2020 has been challenging. Path Hill has lost over one third of its revenue. All our summer camps and expeditions have had to be cancelled and we closed for six weeks over Easter. Our work with more vulnerable young people has continued (apart from the six-week blip) and we have been able to focus more on that aspect of our work over the summer and given our students exceptional experiences. We have built tree houses, had overnights on rafts on the River Thames and involved students in all aspects of building a new outdoor kitchen.

During the summer break we put on a fortnight of adventure days for NHS staff and their families. Funded by a local charity, it was our opportunity to say a big thank you to those in the NHS who were on the frontline during the spring. Every day we had four families getting involved in activities such as bushcraft, rafting and woodland play. Each family had an instructor allowing everyone to remain in their ‘bubble’, meals were prepared by members of staff and all equipment was wiped down after each activity. The feedback from the nurses, ancillary workers and general public has been tremendous and the scheme generated a great deal of press interest. We intend to organise something similar for the Christmas break.

Path Hill Outdoors BBC Clip

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to create a lot of uncertainty. We have recently learnt that social groups are limited to six which means that our regular adult groups and pre-school parent and children group will need to be altered to comply with the latest government rules. Our one to one and small group programmes with vulnerable children continues to grow and will be our main revenue stream for this year and probably for 2021 as well. A quieter year has helped us to re-think some of the work we do and how we do it. Without the frantic summer rush of residential camps and expeditions we have been able to focus on quality, re-assess potential demands and needs and invest time into staff training and getting the site ready for the future.

We have recently completed the construction of our new outdoor kitchen with wood ovens.  This will greatly expand what we can offer our students and we will develop programmes in outdoor catering, woodland management and metalwork.  We are also planning to put on exciting new courses for adults and families once everything is in place.

Thank you to Mark Hillyer, Director at Path Hill Outdoors for providing this interview

Rockley Watersports

Business Interruption – FCA Test Case ruling

For those Members with Business Interruption on their cover the following update applies following the decision made by the FCA.

We are reviewing and considering the decision made by the FCA in the test case judgement handed down this week.  The Mutual Managers are discussing both internally and with supporting insurers and are doing so as quickly as we can, but cannot make any further comment at this stage.

If you want to pursue a claim under the BI cover, please follow the usual procedure for claims but we cannot comment on the validity of any claim at this stage.

For further information about how to make a claim please visit the Claims page on our website 

Save Outdoor Ed – RYG Centre

COVID 19 – Latest Update

Supporting our Members through COVID 19 – UPDATE 7

We hope that you are all keeping safe and well and managing to resume businesses and activities or looking to the future with plans to restart.

Just a gentle reminder to ensure you have the correct Public Liability cover in place before you resume activities, email the team on if you have any queries.

Keeping everyone safe

We wanted to remind all AIM Members that whilst we have eased from the initial lockdown there are still some restrictions in place and everyone must ensure that they are adhering to current Government guidelines to keep staff, visitors, and participants safe.  Notably to maintain the social distancing required and the hygiene and sanitisation of equipment.  We believe that this will significantly reduce the spread of the infection and any possible suggestion that a person has caught the infection whilst on your site or doing your activity.  Unfortunately, we have all come across instances where people have breached the rules whilst out and about, whether that be in public spaces or whilst shopping.  The team here are available if you have any concerns or queries about Risk Assessments related to COVID 19.

Business Interruption

The FCA test case has concluded and we await the Court’s ruling.  This is expected in September and we will update Members as soon as we have any further news.

Zoom meetings

Thank you to all of you who have attended the Zoom calls.  These have proved popular and there are planned meetings for the following dates.

Wednesday 9th September 17.30 – Co-hosted with Sam Sutton of New Forest Activities

Wednesday 16th September 17.30 – General catch up

Please let Cath Watson know if you would like to attend on  If you have any suggestions for other topics, then please do let us know.  The Mutual is here for its Members so please tell us what you would like!


We know that many of our Members have resumed activities either fully or partially, therefore, please ensure that you notify us promptly if any accidents or incidents occur.  Even where there does not appear to be any failure or negligence on your part, it is important that we can work with you to investigate and if possible head off any potential formal claim.  With the financial difficulties faced by so many, unfortunately this can give rise to spurious accidents and claims as a way of seeking money.  We want to protect you all against such issues, so please ask if you have any concerns or need any pointers for risk management.  Our Mutual Manager, Sophia, and Account Executive, Ralph would be happy to assist with this so please contact them at or

If you are adhering to Government guidelines then it is unlikely that you will receive a claim that a person contracted the infection whilst on your premises, or whilst taking part in your activity. For a claim to succeed, the person would need to demonstrate that they did not contract it anywhere else.  With pubs, shops and restaurants now open, we envisage that this will be more difficult to prove.  Please be aware that if you do receive a claim, specifically for COVID 19 related issues, the Mutual’s supporting insurers have excluded any cover from the Public Liability section of your cover.  This means that we would not deal with any claim under the Public Liability cover and you would need to defend or settle the claim yourself; the cover would not respond to provide payment of any fees or claim.  We have seen this being excluded throughout the insurance industry as a result of the pandemic.  Unfortunately we have been unable to change this exclusion for AIM Members.

If you do receive a complaint or allegation concerning COVID 19 related issues, please inform us in the usual way, using the contact information below.  Wherever possible, we will assist you with developing a suitable response, including providing you with a template response letter.

For all incidents and claims, please contact the Claims team as follows:

Phone: 01892 888 475


We hope that you are all keeping well and if you have any queries or concerns do get in touch.  Thank you for your support of AIM.

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The AIM Team