Hazards of our Sport and the need for adequate Insurance Cover
The Officers and Committee of the Eagle Ski Club wish to remind members that Ski touring and mountaineering are dangerous and occasionally life-threatening sports and that other outdoor activities organised by the Club (e.g. Week-end meets in the UK) may also be hazardous with some risk of serious personal injury. Participants in all these activities must be aware of and accept these risks and must be responsible for their own actions and involvement.
The Club itself, tour and meet leaders, and individual Club members taking part in listed Club tours, meets etc. are all covered for Public liability by an insurance policy obtained through our affiliation to SnowSport England. Members taking part in any activity which is not part of the Club’s formal programme will not be covered by this policy and are advised to consider taking out separate personal insurance for third-party risks. Details of the the policy are given in the following document:
SnowSport England Insurance Policy Document (2016). Note: Although there are specific exclusions for off-piste skiing in the standard SSE policy document, the committee is able to confirm that the club has negociated third party insurance cover with SnowSport England insurance for all the published club tours.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Members who are skiing in countries of the European Union or European Economic Area (including Switzerland) are strongly advised to have a European Health Insuance Card (EHIC).
This is what used to be known as the E111 (which was discontinued in 2006), and it is now provided as a credit-card-sized plastic card. It can be used to obtain state-funded medical treatment in countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), including Switzerland, essentially on the same terms as residents of those countries (which may involve making a "co-payment"). The card is available free to all UK residents who are citizens of EEA countries (though not to residents of the Chanel Islands or Isle of Man).
Note that an EHIC card is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed; there is an expiry date shown on the card.
EHIC cards may be applied for or renewed online via the official website at https://www.ehic.org.uk/ (which redirects to http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx). The application process on the official website is entirely free of charge, though there are numerous unofficial websites which charge fees; some of these claim to provide an "expedited" service, though no such thing exists.
Personal and Other Insurance
All members taking part in Club meets involving ski touring or any off-piste activity are required to have adequate personal cover to pay the cost of “getting them off the mountain”, by helicopter where necessary. They are also strongly urged to have additional cover to pay for possibly extended local hospitalisation and/or repatriation. That cover should extend to all medical emergencies and not just accidents. It is the member’s responsibility to ensure that the insurance does provide cover for all the intended activities.
The range of policies available is too wide for the Club to make specific recommendations and Members are urged to do their own research. It is hoped that the following notes, though not exhaustive, will be helpful to that end.
The policy/policies you need will depend very much on your personal circumstances, existing cover, age etc. Some otherwise good policies become uncompetitive for members who have passed 60. Some annual policies can be a bargain if you get away a lot and climb etc in the summer too.
What is absolutely essential from a touring point of view is that you have adequate cover to get you off the mountain (i.e. helicopter rescue) and provide urgent medical support. Membership of the Austrian Alpine Club UK (which also gives you reciprocal rights in most Alpine Huts) and Carte Neige (available from all French ski resorts, or from the Federation Francaise de Ski) both include this sort of basic cover worldwide without age restrictions. By themselves these will not provide adequate total insurance. E.g. The AAC cover does provide for “rescue, repatriation and medically necessary treatment that cannot be postponed”, for leisure activities worldwide, but you would certainly need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC - see above) too.
It goes without saying that cover for areas outside Europe, particularly North America, will need to be very significantly higher. You might also consider obtaining cover against loss of a deposit or other non-refundable payments for a Tour from which you had to withdraw late because of injury etc. on a previous trip.
Insurers you should consider might include the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), the Ski Club of Great Britain (SCGB), Snowcard, Fogg Travel Insurance Services, Dog Tag Insurance and Protectivity.
The Eagle Ski Club has Associate Membership of the BMC (as distinct from being an affiliated member club), which allows ESC members to buy their travel insurance without separately joining the BMC as individual members, or being members of a fully BMC-affiliated mountaineering club. Quote 'Eagle Ski Club' where the application asks for membership of a BMC-affiliated club. If you do use this option, please send a note to the Hon Sec so we can monitor the interest.