Due to the insurance fiasco, the March workday is cancelled.
Originally Posted by M2RIDERNotice to all recreational trail users of Marion Sansom and Gateway Parks.
The letter below was sent to the City of Fort Worth's Mayor Betsy Price, Councilman Danny Scarth (who represents Gateway Park), Councilman Dennis Shingleton (who represents Marion Sansom Park), City Attorney James Lacy, P&CS Director Richard Zavala and Assistant P&CS Director Sandra Youngblood. The letter was sent last Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 11:00am . . . . .
This letter is to inform the City of Fort Worth that as of midnight, Saturday, March 1, 2014 the Fort Worth Mountain Bikers’ Association (FWMBA), a 501c3, non-profit mountain bike club will no longer have a general liability insurance policy to indemnify the City from FWMBA’s operations within Gateway and Marion Sansom Parks. FWMBA was informed by their insurance agent, Marsh & McLennan Agency of this news Saturday, February 15, 2014. This decision to not renew the policy was not the result of any claims filed against FWMBA. FWMBA has a spotless run/loss statement. FWMBA is actively seeking a carrier to secure insurance. However, insurance agents have stated that it will be impossible for FWMBA to retain a new general liability policy before the March 1 deadline. Therefore, per our license agreement with the City, which requires the club maintain a general liability insurance policy, FWMBA will not be in compliance with the agreement.
Unless some breakthrough happens, on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:00pm FWMBA will inform our membership and the general public via our website forum and social media outlets of this news. FWMBA will cancel their planned trail building day on March 1 and will cease all sanctioned maintenance activity in the parks in which they operate until this issue is resolved. Of course, FWMBA desires to see our trails remain open through this crisis. FWMBA is requesting a statement from the City before Noon this Friday, February 28 regarding whether or not the mountain bike trails are to remain open so that we can advise our membership.
Marsh & McLennan Agency and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) work together to provide insurance to their chapter and affiliated clubs (FWMBA is an IMBA affiliated club). Through a ”master policy” written to IMBA, the insurance underwriter and IMBA provided a means for mountain bike clubs like FWMBA to purchase insurance at a discounted rate. Unfortunately, Marsh & McLennan Agency and IMBA were unable to come to terms as to how the 2014 “master policy” would be structured. As a result mountain bike clubs across the country like FWMBA were summarily dropped by Marsh & McLennan Agency with less than two weeks to find insurance elsewhere.
IMBA is actively seeking an underwriter to secure insurance. IMBA executive director, Mike Van Able writes, “IMBA staff is working very hard to find suitable replacements for a national insurance program. We have already interviewed nine potential brokers, with several additional interviews scheduled in upcoming days. However, it's not likely a new program will be in place in time to avoid a lapse in coverage, given the current policy's expiration on Feb. 28.”
FWMBA is in negotiations with two insurance agents to secure a policy. Unfortunately on Friday, February 21, 2014 FWMBA was informed that it was unlikely that the club could secure insurance before the March 1 deadline. McKay Insurance wrote, “Our agency has been contacted by many IMBA clubs seeking coverage for their operations. We are working to develop a solution as quickly as we can but unfortunately we do not expect to have a viable solution in place before your current policy expires on March 1st.”
The long and the short of it is that there are a lot of mountain bike club presidents like myself scrambling to find insurance in order to meet the obligations of our agreements with land managers. FWMBA is optimistic that we’ll be able to secure a new general liability insurance policy. However, our inquiries to insurance agents have revealed that the premiums will be much higher than those charged by Marsh & McLennan Agency. Marsh & McLennan Agency’s Scott Chapin wrote, “Without the IMBA master policy renewal, we are not able to offer affordable individual policies; minimum annual premiums will average about $5000 - $7500.”
FWMBA deeply regrets the news from Marsh & McLennan Agency and IMBA to discontinue general liability insurance coverage to FWMBA. We remain committed to our partnership with the City and are open to explore any suggestions the City may have that will enable us to continue our trail building mission. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss this further. This is a matter that requires urgent attention. We look forward to hearing from you this week.
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What is next?
FWMBA will post the City of Fort Worth’s statement regarding whether or not the mountain bike trails are to remain open during this period on this forum this Friday afternoon.
Until insurance is secured FWMBA will not schedule any sanctioned rides, Workfests, maintenance or events of any kind inside Marion Sansom Park or Gateway Park on their website forum or Facebook page.
Please attend the March FWMBA club meeting at Backwood’s next Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 7:00pm for more information.
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