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.

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 [email protected] 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 [email protected].  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 [email protected] or [email protected].

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

Email: [email protected]   

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


AALA Licensing – AIM Member Survey Results

What our members said

We recently sent out a member survey to gauge members views on the AALA Licensing review and we had an excellent response rate with members submitting their views to the three options posed by the HSE.  For those of you not familiar with this, the HSE have set up a review to the current AALA licensing scheme and were asking all providers to respond.

  • Option 1 – Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and increase fees
  • Option 2 – Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, extend the activities in-scope and increase fees.
  • Option 3 – Removal of the AALA regulations and move to an industry-led; not-for-profit accreditation scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, to provide assurance to users of outdoor activities

The HSE survey is now closed and the HSE have advised that all responses will be analysed and will engage further with stakeholders to further develop the preferred option.

As AIM is a membership community providing Public and Employers liability cover to activity providers we have also submitted our own response. Responses from the members can be viewed here.  If you require further information about the survey please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected]


Weardale Adventure Centre Ltd – New Member Profile

Member Profile

We are pleased to welcome Weardale Adventure Centre, a residential multi-activity centre, as a new member to AIM.

Weardale Adventure Centre is an 80 bedded residential centre based in the North Pennines offering high-quality, outdoor and adventure education activities. They were founded in 1978 and ever since has been an integral part of the local community. As a result there are groups that have been visiting the centre for over 20 years.

After working at Weardale Adventure Centre for a number of years, centre manager Kay Sheppard and head of outdoor activities, John Noble decided to take over the business at the beginning of 2016.

The centre is situated in 5 acres of grounds surrounded by beautiful scenery where participants can enjoy on-site activities as well as the use of local venues.

Weardale Adventure Centre focus on delivering high quality educational programmes to school groups between the ages of 8 and 18 as well as offering activities to individuals, families and corporate events.

The centre offers a range of activities including high ropes, bushcraft, climbing, archery, gorge walking, mine exploration, canoeing, kayaking, raft building, camping, hiking and orienteering. As well as the activities Weardale offers canoeing courses, climbing courses, corporate training, first aid courses and navigation and hill skills.

AIM was happy to welcome Weardale Adventure Centre to the Mutual and wish them the best of success for the future.

John Noble, Director of Weardale Adventure Centre has this to say;

“We have found AIM very professional, helpful and friendly. The seminar I attended in London was very informative. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.” 

For more information on Weardale Adventure Centre please contact them by visiting:-

Freelance Instructors and Public Liability Insurance

When do freelance instructors need their own public liability insurance?

A member asks:-

“I had a request for information on instructor insurance yesterday, which had me scratching my head. It seems that a few local authorities are now requiring any freelancers who work for them to carry their own insurance, specifically covering all activities they may be employed to deliver. I don’t know what is driving this policy, but it strikes me that this could be placing a significant financial burden on freelancers, many of whom are paid minimum wage for their work.

Are you aware of any related legalities? For example, could it be related to the fact that the freelancers are self employed?”

AIM’S Response:-

“We’d say that from our standpoint, what it comes down to is: whose programme is the freelance instructor delivering in terms of its content and delivery?

If, for example, it’s the centre’s or provider’s programme, the freelance instructor would be acting as a “labour only” subcontractor and the centre would be liable for the standard of delivery and the content of the activity. The centre is vicariously liable for the actions of its self employed instructors delivering its programmes, whether or not the freelance instructors have their own personal public liability insurance.

If, however, the instructor is delivering his or her own programme outside the control of the centre or provider, it may be an activity that they don’t deliver – let’s say pony trekking – it’s the freelance instructor’s programme and he or she would be regarded as a “bona fide” subcontractor (BFSC). If, for example, the booking had been made through the centre, it would be recognised that the self employed or freelance instructor is responsible and liable for the content and delivery of the activity and the centre’s responsibility would be to ensure that the BFSC is competent and has his own public liability insurance.

Responsibility and liability aspects are entirely separate from any tax standpoint. Further information is available on line from HSE guides and “insurance expert’s” blogs”.