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  1. #1
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    Official "Complain (or Gloat) About IMBA's Insurance Problem" thread.

    So as to keep the other thread on the insurance challenges facing IMBA chapters focused on understanding the issue and sharing solutions, this thread is dedicated to all other IMBA complains, loaded questions, and whatever else you have to say on the issue other than what is helpful to those trying to deal with the current situation.

    Thanks, I look forward to everything you all have to contribute.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  2. #2
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    It seems that there has been a trend in the last year or so of bad things happening with IMBA. I don’t know that it’s all IMBA’s fault, but it has certainly given them a few black eyes and a lot of bad press. In hindsight, they probably could have done a better job handling certain high profile situations.

    First, the handling of the Sedona situation. IMBA didn’t create the situation in Sedona, but when called upon to support one of its chapters, and protect MTB access at a premier MTB destination, IMBA failed. This was a very high profile situation that received national attention. And when IMBA brought out the big guns to deal with the situation, they failed miserably – IMO.

    Secondly, IMBA created a new, high profile position last year – North East Regional IMBA Rep. That position was highly promoted and advertised by IMBA as a strong showing of support to MTB’rs in the NE. Less than a year after hiring a NE Rep, the position went down in flames. The position has been vacated for nearly 6 months and IMBA has yet to hire a new rep. There are a lot of rumors to the reason why the position was vacated. I don’t know that IMBA is completely to blame, but it certainly doesn’t leave a warm & fuzzy feeling towards them.

    And now we have the insurance situation! IMBA is probably not to blame for the reasons the insurance got dropped, but I think they could have done a much better job handling & communicating the situation with everyone affected. My club buys insurance through the IMBA plan. We received 2 weeks notice that the plan would not be renewed! This is unacceptable IMO! Our club is basically dead in the water until we find a new insurance plan. This is the time of year that my club works on fundraising, applying for grants, putting together event schedules, attending expos, etc. Now all of that is on hold because we are allocating 100% of our resources towards finding new insurance!

    I don’t know all the details of why these situations have gone so terribly wrong for IMBA over the last year or so. But the trend is stark. And I think they have to (at the very least) share the responsibility for those failures.

    Maybe it’s time for a change in leadership at IMBA?!?!

  3. #3
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    Re: Official "Complain (or Gloat) About IMBA's Insurance Problem" thread.

    I've watched the other thread with interest. I'm an IMBA member/supporter but I have to say that if this insurance thing doesn't get figured out and local chapters in my area cannot do trail work then what exactly am I paying membership fees for? I know IMBA does more then that but if we can't keep our existing trails clean and clear then many of the other things IMBA does really does not matter.

  4. #4
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    Our club is not an IMBA chapter nor do we intend to be one. Although we have supported them for years through donations and membership dues with the insurance option dead-in-the-water I don't know whether we will continue doing so. We too are in the NE US and the vacated NE rep issue is a very sore spot with us and other clubs in the area.
    We are hunting for a new insurance program and we may have had some success. We will see early next week. If we do find outside insurance IMBA will not receive our support in the future.
    I/we feel that they were not forthcoming enough with the dire nature of the insurance and we also feel that they have lost their focus with the boots on the ground volunteers-instead pushing chapters and fundraising options and then hiring an outside trail building organization to get trails built.
    However this ends up I know that it will leave a bad taste in my mouth for a long time.

  5. #5
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    I think there's a lot of whining and overreacting going on. For this issue, insurance companies suck. They all do. They're a scourge on society, but our society has made them a requirement. We're f'd either way.

    This same thing happened to my old health insurance company last year. They decided back in the fall that they weren't going to offer coverage at the beginning of the year (similar timelines to this issue and all) and notified me to start shopping for coverage. Wonderful. Except last fall was a bad time to shop for coverage, because EVERYBODY was shopping for coverage, and the marketplace website was in shambles in the beginning. I didn't find anything until it got down to the wire, and it's not as good as what I had before. All because the underwriter didn't want to offer the plan in 2014.

    Seems like something very similar happened here. None of us really know why IMBA was optimistic about it at first, and then at the last minute pulled the rug out from under everybody. My guess, with the experiences I've had with the insurance industry, is that the rug was pulled out from under them, too.

  6. #6
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    Over-reacting is not a word I would use in this situation. This issue affects the majority of MTB clubs and MTB trails across the country. If you're not going to get fired up over this, then what does it take to get you fired up?!?!?!

    I agree that insurance companies are a PITA to work with. But I have a hard time believing that IMBA didn't see this coming. However, you would never know that by reading all the coorespondence they sent out over the last few months. Everything was positive, smooth sailing, nothing to worry about......until last week when they blindsided all there chapters, members, affiliates, etc. All of whom happen to be IMBA's meal ticket.

    My last post talks about the trend of high profile failure that IMBA has been involved with recently. I think this trend will deteriorate people's confidence in IMBA if the trend is not corrected. I would like nothing more than to see IMBA succeed. My club has benefitted greatly from IMBA's support in the past. It would be great to see that support continue in the future. But I feel that there needs to be some changes within the organization to right the ship.

  7. #7
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    I want IMBA to succeed.

    We, the BTCEB, are IMBA Members (heck we were one of the founders of IMBA) but are not and will not invest in the Chapter program as we have all functions offered by that program well in hand.

    We enjoy a very good relationship with the Northern CA rep, Tom Ward. He wears one of our jerseys.

    Okay?

    So the part of the IMBA email, which Tom forwarded to me as an FYI, that strikes me hardest is this part:

    "3) a significant number of clubs and chapters unable or unwilling to participate in the national program and many clubs have left the national program..."

    So this is where the critiquing is coming from. It is not an over reaction but has a basis in some fundamental concerns for IMBA and it's day-to-day operations.

    Now, I'm not saying I know how to do it better. I don't even know if it can be done given the limited investment by the mtb community and the advocacy job that needs to be done. But I do believe that the thoughts and feelings being expressed are valid. And when you look at this in terms of a product or service offered, one ignores what a client, former client or potential client, has to say at their own peril.

    No number of apologist or supporters of IMBA can keep a lid on these expressions, expressions which may very well represent a much larger portion of the advocacy community than IMBA ever will at this rate.
    I don't rattle.

  8. #8
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    Official "Complain (or Gloat) About IMBA's Insurance Problem" thread.

    My point is everybody is getting riled up over assumptions they've made with information they don't have. Classic definition of overreacting, no?

    And last I checked, getting riled up before there is a good solution in place detracts from finding that solution in the first place. So sue me because my response is a measured one.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    So the part of the IMBA email, which Tom forwarded to me as an FYI, that strikes me hardest is this part:

    "3) a significant number of clubs and chapters unable or unwilling to participate in the national program and many clubs have left the national program..."
    Mike. I appreciate your nuanced approach, even if I don't share your opinion that IMBA is/was ignoring their clients (by which I presume you mean member clubs/chapters).

    I have a question, though, on the line quoted above. I may be mistaken, but I think this refers to the national *insurance* program. I don't think it means that they are leaving IMBA (as the "national program"). I think it means that they were unwilling or unable to participate in IMBA's group insurance. This caused problems when IMBA was negotiating for the extension of insurance benefits.

    If someone has more info on this and I misunderstand, please correct me.

  10. #10
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    Ignoring and suppression is a factor in this forum, as shown in previous threads about IMBA. Whether IMBA is doing that, I don't know, but perilous in any case.

    In the initial IMBA Insurance announcement thread there was a suggestion that their insurance was not manditorily a part of the chapter package. That at a national level member clubs and chapters opted-out suggests that there were more appropriate options. We're these options better than the IMBA Program or were they forgoing insurance altogether? Add to that groups possibly leaving IMBA altogether and you still end up with a lack of buy-in for IMBA services and that is a financial hit.
    I don't rattle.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    My point is everybody is getting riled up over assumptions they've made with information they don't have. Classic definition of overreacting, no?

    And last I checked, getting riled up before there is a good solution in place detracts from finding that solution in the first place. So sue me because my response is a measured one.
    Getting riled is an indication of the nature and degree of investment. Getting this out is part of the path to the next level of evaluation, subsequent thinking, and actions. No need to suppress it.
    I don't rattle.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Ignoring and suppression is a factor in this forum, as shown in previous threads about IMBA. Whether IMBA is doing that, I don't know, but perilous in any case.

    In the initial IMBA Insurance announcement thread there was a suggestion that their insurance was not manditorily a part of the chapter package. That at a national level member clubs and chapters opted-out suggests that there were more appropriate options. We're these options better than the IMBA Program or were they forgoing insurance altogether? Add to that groups possibly leaving IMBA altogether and you still end up with a lack of buy-in for IMBA services and that is a financial hit.
    It was clear to our chapter that the insurance they were offering to optional, and we could get other insurance if we wanted.

    No one insurance policy is going to be the best fit for every chapter in every state. Club's needs vary (some are not really building trails and don't need that coverage) and laws change from state to state. This is not some indication of larger problems, it is just the way it is. IMBA's coverage did a good job for many chapters, but not all.

    I think it would have been a good idea for IMBA to offer a policy that did not include trail building for clubs that did not need it. And I certainly wish they had one lined up now like that so at least we had a well-vetted option to cover all our other insurance needs with the trail-building part gets worked out.

    Add to that groups possibly leaving IMBA altogether and you still end up with a lack of buy-in for IMBA services and that is a financial hit.
    Yes: add one false dichotomy based on limited information to a theoretical scenario, and you get..... what?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    In the initial IMBA Insurance announcement thread there was a suggestion that their insurance was not manditorily a part of the chapter package. That at a national level member clubs and chapters opted-out suggests that there were more appropriate options. We're these options better than the IMBA Program or were they forgoing insurance altogether?
    The chapter agreement requires that the chapter obtain insurance, but it didn't require that the chapter get its insurance through IMBA.

    I can only report on what our chapter's approach was. And that is that everyone cared more about riding, racing, and trail building than paperwork (didn't form a club to do paperwork!) so so long as it was easy and affordable to get the insurance through IMBA, why the hell not. I am sure some clubs/chapters had insurance elsewhere from before or got a better deal because they did have good paperwork folks, and they may have done insurance that way. The more options the better.

  14. #14
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    I guess some schadenfreude is only human, but given the stakes, wouldn't we all prefer to just have insurance lined up, whether through IMBA or not? So far I have not heard of anyone securing alternate coverage which is very, very bad.

    IMO it's unlikely that IMBA is totally incompetent at securing insurance, and that means that it's going to be really, really hard for anyone else to get insured either, right? So we're looking at a massive crisis for people who like to build and maintain trails. I hope the stakes are clear to folks who just want to use this as another reason to kick IMBA around.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmap View Post
    The chapter agreement requires that the chapter obtain insurance, but it didn't require that the chapter get its insurance through IMBA.

    I can only report on what our chapter's approach was. And that is that everyone cared more about riding, racing, and trail building than paperwork (didn't form a club to do paperwork!) so so long as it was easy and affordable to get the insurance through IMBA, why the hell not. I am sure some clubs/chapters had insurance elsewhere from before or got a better deal because they did have good paperwork folks, and they may have done insurance that way. The more options the better.
    This is a good point: Much of this has to do with hassle. That is a big part of what the Chapter appeal was to us (for example, not having to become an expert in trail-building liability insurance). And in the end, that is why this current situation is such a let-down, IMO: It's the hassle.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  16. #16
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    One of the issues that IMBA mentions as a cause for this insurance debacle is that some chapters/affiliates have made very poor decisions and have actually signed off and indemnified land managers in order to be allowed to build trails.

    Without specific contractual language clearly prohibiting chapters/ affiliates from entering into these irresponsible agreements, it follows that should IMBA be successful in acquiring a new insurance policy, the issue remains and we all will find ourselves in this same situation in the future.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I guess some schadenfreude is only human, but given the stakes, wouldn't we all prefer to just have insurance lined up, whether through IMBA or not?

    I hope the stakes are clear to folks who just want to use this as another reason to kick IMBA around.
    Of course we would prefer to have insurance lined up. That is proving to be more difficult than anyone would have hoped, including IMBA who encouraged subscribers to look out for themselves. It turns out that the difficulty on one hand is availability. On another perhaps having such a search and evaluation task sort of dumped upon folks who, for any number of reasons, are not in a very good position to handle it, creates unwonted and unexpected stress.

    As such, the process reveals itself to be more complex that just plugging another insurance company into the program as if one were changing tire. Issues of confidence become apparent, whether it be confidence in IMBA or in the decision making abilities of the individual groups. It is sort of a gun-shy thing.

    So for the most part I don't think that it is a matter of kicking IMBA around but of asking some hard questions revealed by a challenge that folks thought was taken care of when they signed up. Again; that is a mutual responsibility but the fallout makes sense and sorting it out here is useful. It may not be pretty but it is important.

    Again, my hope is for civility.
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  18. #18
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    I'm sorry Mike but at this point I'm not sure what you're even trying to say. I do know that I think we're on the same side in that we both hope that all the mountain bike clubs affected by the insurance/liability issue will be able to resolve it.

    -Walt

  19. #19
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    Can a club gain insurance through USA Cycling? They offer insurance as a part of all the licenses they print, I would assume (dangerous word) that they offer something for clubs as well. Granted they wont do dick for advocacy in your area, even if you beg them to. But it might be an avenue for some of you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Can a club gain insurance through USA Cycling? They offer insurance as a part of all the licenses they print, I would assume (dangerous word) that they offer something for clubs as well. Granted they wont do dick for advocacy in your area, even if you beg them to. But it might be an avenue for some of you.
    We looked into insurance through USA Cycling and they do not cover trail building/maintenance related activities which would not work for our organization and I suspect a majority of other MTB clubs.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I'm sorry Mike but at this point I'm not sure what you're even trying to say. I do know that I think we're on the same side in that we both hope that all the mountain bike clubs affected by the insurance/liability issue will be able to resolve it.

    -Walt

    The most important thrust of my input is to respect the expressions of people who are struggling, to not dismiss them, to not call them whiners and detractors or suggest that they are impeding solutions.

    My second point is to appreciate the value of these expressions as a part of re-deciding how to move forward with advocacy efforts.
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  22. #22
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    Anyone that states that someone is "over reacting", "whinning" or has no reason to be "riled up" obviously has not devoted time this past week or today seeking trail building insurance.

    It would be in the best interest of IMBA to directly contact chapter/affiliates no later than 2-25-2014 with a list of insurance companies that can provide trail building insurance and let each association decide how to proceed. By doing so, each association will then at least have a real opportunity to honor existing trail work obligations and offer new trail work projects.

    Cost obviously is going to be a factor. Much more so than the price of the policy.

    IMBA currently takes 60% of all local membership fees. $30 membership leaves only $12 to the local club. What happens if the new policy costs $15-$20/member?

    We will have to raise our membership 100% to $60 in order to give IMBA their 60% and be able to cover the projected higher insurance rate.

    Or we can opt out of the chapter program, keep our membership rate @ $30, pay the higher insurance cost, and move on.

    I don't see other options here.

    I'm not hating on IMBA. I'm just looking at this one specific situation from a business viewpoint.
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  23. #23
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    I am going to speak to the insurer for Alpine Bike Parks. The insurer also has experience with non-profits.

    I'll try to update everyone. Key word "try".
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  24. #24
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    There are over 75 professional trail contractors in the US (many of them PTBA members) and all of them have liability insurance (it is required to be able to get 95% of all trail contracts, the only exception is the USFS). IMBA Trail Solutions also is still insured and working and will be after the 28th. Needless to say, insurance is available.


    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher View Post
    I am going to speak to the insurer for Alpine Bike Parks. The insurer also has experience with non-profits.

    I'll try to update everyone. Key word "try".

  25. #25
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    So, then, what is missing in this context is someone to announce a price for insuring trail building at the level that concerns everyone.
    I don't rattle.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    There are over 75 professional trail contractors in the US (many of them PTBA members) and all of them have liability insurance (it is required to be able to get 95% of all trail contracts, the only exception is the USFS). IMBA Trail Solutions also is still insured and working and will be after the 28th. Needless to say, insurance is available.
    The risks inherent in insuring a professional is different than insuring a volunteer club doing similar work.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  27. #27
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    imba Has certainly become a bloated bureaucracy. Looking through the 990, # of full time employees and compensation packages offered for full time employees and the small amount of $ going back to the chapters makes me sad.
    I will say I dropped out of the local club years ago when it joined imba as I did not want my $ being sent off.

    https://www.imba.com/about/irs-form-990

    (1) Michael L. Van Abel 40.00Exec. Director & President X X 138,740. 0. 25,494.
    =$164,234 total direct compensation although I am sure there is plenty of "travel" money to go along with this.


    imba should get their priorities straight and trim some fat to fund the insurance program.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    The risks inherent in insuring a professional is different than insuring a volunteer club doing similar work.
    No, they are not. From an insurer point of view, you're building trails. As simple as that.

    Fun fact. My professional trailbuilder insurance policy allow me to work in 137 country, except for the USA. Reason from my broker: too many frivolous lawsuits.

    Quote Originally Posted by ridingthebuff View Post
    imba Has certainly become a bloated bureaucracy. Looking through the 990, # of full time employees and compensation packages offered for full time employees and the small amount of $ going back to the chapters makes me sad.
    I will say I dropped out of the local club years ago when it joined imba as I did not want my $ being sent off.

    https://www.imba.com/about/irs-form-990

    (1) Michael L. Van Abel 40.00Exec. Director & President X X 138,740. 0. 25,494.
    =$164,234 total direct compensation although I am sure there is plenty of "travel" money to go along with this.
    One of the key to good business management is to get the right leadership in place. If you don't pay enough, you'll have the bottom of the ladder and you'll be stuck there.

    That salary for a non-profit of this size is not abnormal at all. If you want to be outraged, look at how much a university dean or your banker does.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridingthebuff View Post
    imba Has certainly become a bloated bureaucracy. Looking through the 990, # of full time employees and compensation packages offered for full time employees and the small amount of $ going back to the chapters makes me sad.
    I will say I dropped out of the local club years ago when it joined imba as I did not want my $ being sent off.

    https://www.imba.com/about/irs-form-990

    (1) Michael L. Van Abel 40.00Exec. Director & President X X 138,740. 0. 25,494.
    =$164,234 total direct compensation although I am sure there is plenty of "travel" money to go along with this.


    imba should get their priorities straight and trim some fat to fund the insurance program.
    I'll add this "Trail building & repair 91,667"

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypNoTic View Post
    No, they are not. From an insurer point of view, you're building trails. As simple as that.
    .
    It's not just the work to be done that determines risk, it is the people doing the work, and (especially important in these cases) signing the agreements to do the work.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    IMBA Trail Solutions also is still insured and working and will be after the 28th.
    Now I'm super pissed. There has been speculation from professional trail builders that IMBA may have taken this move in part to give an advantage to Trail Solutions. I blew it off at first, but it BLOWS ME AWAY that they cancelled insurance for 750+ clubs because it was too expensive, but managed to keep insurance for themselves.

    I have also heard rumors of clubs suing IMBA for the "cost to cover" on their new policies. I'm certainly not a fan of folks suing each other, but IMBA's actions show a total lack of commitment to the grass roots MTB base.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridingthebuff View Post
    I'll add this "Trail building & repair 91,667"
    I know your mind is made up, so I won't try to change it. However, IMBA actually gets grief here for spending *too much* on trail construction.

    From the 990:

    Trail consulting 1,365,105

    Yes, that is revenue, but amount spent is probably roughly the same (I don't think they make a ton of money over their costs on that. Hell, they have even been accused of *subsidizing* Trail Solutions).

    Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo Guapo View Post
    Now I'm super pissed. There has been speculation from professional trail builders that IMBA may have taken this move in part to give an advantage to Trail Solutions. I blew it off at first, but it BLOWS ME AWAY that they cancelled insurance for 750+ clubs because it was too expensive, but managed to keep insurance for themselves.
    I can't believe conspiracy stuff like this. The insurance crisis is for volunteer organizations. It's not a zero sum game. ITS is not all of a sudden going to come and build trails for free because the local clubs (building for free) got muscled out. Think about it. We all know there's not that much money out there to support paid trail construction.

    IMBA (Boulder) is paying insurance for ITS because those are trailbuilders working out of Boulder (yes, I know they don't all live in Boulder). IMBA never paid for the insurance of chapters and local clubs. Local club insurance was always paid by the local clubs and chapters. IMBA didn't cancel the local clubs and chapters insurance. RJF/M&M decided it was not profitable to underwrite local club/chapter insurance policies on a blanket basis (or they would only for a huge rate increase that IMBA-Boulder would have to cover up front with a huge check they can't cut). So IMBA couldn't offer that service any more to its chapters.

    As mentioned elsewhere, one reason that RJF/M&M didn't want to enter in a blanket coverage offering is that many clubs/chapters signed MOUs that put significant liability on the clubs/chapters. RJF/M&M didn't really know what they were selling since the full scope of these MOUs isn't really known. However, with ITS, it is just one organization with clear responsibilities, so they probably were willing to write a policy.

    Don't get me wrong. This situation really sucks. And I do have some issues wit the way IMBA-Boulder is handling this. But chasing down conspiracy theories doesn't make sense.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    It's not just the work to be done that determines risk, it is the people doing the work, and (especially important in these cases) signing the agreements to do the work.
    As the owner of a PTBA member company, Singletrack Trails, I spent most of last week helping clubs from Iowa to Colorado figure out a work around.

    To my insurance company it did not matter who did the work (volunteers, paid staff, or subs), just how much they were paid and if they were insured. So it does not seem to make a difference as to volunteer or professional. It only matters on how much you get paid.

    So the insurance companies will look at club and the "value" of the contract and then determine a premium. The value of volunteer time is really just fake money, so the contract is really worth nothing. What "value" does an insurance company see in that?

    The only solution to this crisis is a national group policy that will have a premium that will be 2-3 times the cost of the previous one. The risk for insurance companies to issue a policy to individual companies is just too "great".

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitter_66 View Post
    As the owner of a PTBA member company, Singletrack Trails, I spent most of last week helping clubs from Iowa to Colorado figure out a work around.
    If you have pointers for us, we'd be super appreciative.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitter_66 View Post
    As the owner of a PTBA member company, Singletrack Trails, I spent most of last week helping clubs from Iowa to Colorado figure out a work around.

    To my insurance company it did not matter who did the work (volunteers, paid staff, or subs), just how much they were paid and if they were insured. So it does not seem to make a difference as to volunteer or professional. It only matters on how much you get paid.

    So the insurance companies will look at club and the "value" of the contract and then determine a premium. The value of volunteer time is really just fake money, so the contract is really worth nothing. What "value" does an insurance company see in that?

    The only solution to this crisis is a national group policy that will have a premium that will be 2-3 times the cost of the previous one. The risk for insurance companies to issue a policy to individual companies is just too "great".
    Yes, I would also love any pointers you have. You could get a consulting gig on the side doing this right now.

    I am pretty sure our chapter would be OK paying the extra cost, and I am sure we are not alone. If that is what it costs, that that is what it costs.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Yes, I would also love any pointers you have. You could get a consulting gig on the side doing this right now.

    I am pretty sure our chapter would be OK paying the extra cost, and I am sure we are not alone. If that is what it costs, that that is what it costs.
    There is a reason my post did not include pointers from last weeks research. Each and every avenue I investigated was a col de sac.

    From my viewpoint, the only solution is for each and every chapter and club DEMAND that IMBA not let the current policy lapse and pay the difference. It will be cheaper in the long run for the group policy to continue at a higher premium then for each chapter/club to acquire insurance on their own.

    Yes this is going to be a financial burden to many clubs. But maybe it is just the simple solution business person in me, but the cost difference can be made up in dues. Unfortunately when I local club raises its dues, it will be tipping IMBA for letting them down.

  38. #38
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    What I do for a living and what club volunteers do on the weekend are very similar, but unlike some clubs, we have worked hard to create a solid risk management plan and my insurer knows it.

    Ask a lot of clubs about risk management and they'll wax poetic about making sure to build table tops instead of gap jumps, and always having a B-line around the hard features.
    But then go look at their website or facebook page and there's dudes running chainsaws with no PPE (there's a lot of these pics) , lots of shorts, some flipflops, no safety glasses, people "riding" on the machine, etc. I suppose some folks are thinking "we don't need this OSHA crap!"', and now I'm saying maybe you do.

    Guess what? Potential insurers do their homework and offer coverage and rates appropriately. They will look at your website, read your forums, review your facebook posts, etc.
    I have great insurance rates, but I have also been proactive about workplace safety and have lots of certifications and pieces of paper stating so. Do I personally want to wear long pants, ANSI Class 2 high-vis clothing and a hard hat every day we're doing machine work? Hell no, but it's unlikely you'll find a picture of me anywhere on the interweb that shows anything less than full compliance. Why? Because I know who's watching.

  39. #39
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    Bye Bye International Mis-Mangaged Bike Association

    I'm thinking that if we are insured as individuals clubs why should we belong to the International Mis-mangaged Bike Association? We have no local rep, or insurance needs anymore. Other than the benefit of a large advocacy organization there isn't much keeping us from parting ways. Am I missing anything else?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by centaur11 View Post
    I'm thinking that if we are insured as individuals clubs why should we belong to the International Mis-mangaged Bike Association? We have no local rep, or insurance needs anymore. Other than the benefit of a large advocacy organization there isn't much keeping us from parting ways. Am I missing anything else?
    I wasn't going to respond but just checked your profile and saw you are in New York State as am I.

    You do have a local rep and he just had a series of meetings with DEC and other folks last week going to bat for IMBA chapters in the state. I am not the local rep but I have been working with NY state land managers for about 20 years and they don't want to be working with lots of small groups or worse, individuals. The only way to get and preserve access is through coordinating and pooling resources to get recognized. Larger organizations get a lot more attention and respect. The folks trying to gets us shut out realize that. We need to, too.

    The IMBA Trail Care Crew program is responsible for much of the access we have in New York State as this was the vehicle that demonstrated to state wide organizations what sustainable trails are and that we were committed to them. New York State Parks respects them so much they had them do seminars in all corners of the state a while ago.

    If you are just working some local county park or private land and never hope to expand from there or ride elsewhere in the state, then I suppose you don't need IMBA.

    Clubs/Chapters were always responsible for their own insurance. Sure IMBA used to offer a group policy, but I never saw that as a major component of what they offered. Others see this differently, however.

    P.S. I am as upset as you probably are about the whole Adam thing last year. Don't get me wrong, it was a real black eye for IMBA. But just because our current local rep is based in PA and not in NY doesn't diminish his effectiveness.

  41. #41
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    I think this will be a consideration a lot of clubs will be making. Other than using the logo and such, the insurance was the only benefit our club was getting. Now that link is broken.

    Our regular renewal is in January, so we are signed up for 2014. However, remember that an affiliate price increase was announced in December. When clubs start having to pay more for less dropping the membership will be even more attractive.

  42. #42
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    I wonder if clubs were building trails and exceeding the dictates of their coverage.
    I don't rattle.

  43. #43
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    IMBA helped us get going in our infancy with a visit from the Trail Care Crew to teach us about sustainable trail building. Since then we've built 25 miles of singletrack, over half of which is flow trail. I feel that we owe IMBA gratitude for getting us "on" the ground.

    However, since this insurance debacle has occurred I have lost a great deal of faith. Particularly after receiving a parting comment from IMBA management that chapters and clubs WERE given 45 days advance notice of termination from the broker. Technically we did receive notice last fall that Navigator was dropping IMBA, but we received policy extensions and encouraging emails from the broker that a deal was imminent.

    I have not been receiving IMBA correspondence because of a glitch in their system which ties my individual membership (expired) to our club membership (current). I cannot log in and access any of the emails that IMBA says that it sent out. Emails to correct the problem have gone unanswered.

    We were looking into having IMBA run our membership program at a cost of 60/40 IMBA/Club. But after this fiasco, we will let our membership expire.

  44. #44
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    Did your club insurance cover building trails or just repair?
    I don't rattle.

  45. #45
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    Trail building and maintenance.
    Meanwhile, back at the hive....

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumpduster View Post
    Do I personally want to wear long pants, ANSI Class 2 high-vis clothing and a hard hat every day we're doing machine work? Hell no, but it's unlikely you'll find a picture of me anywhere on the interweb that shows anything less than full compliance. Why? Because I know who's watching.
    Wow. I thought you were so smart, until you outed yourself.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_MTBer View Post
    I think this will be a consideration a lot of clubs will be making. Other than using the logo and such, the insurance was the only benefit our club was getting. Now that link is broken.

    Our regular renewal is in January, so we are signed up for 2014. However, remember that an affiliate price increase was announced in December. When clubs start having to pay more for less dropping the membership will be even more attractive.
    Since the insurance that is now expiring was available from the same source for the same price whether or not a club was a chapter, I still don’t understand why any club considered this a main reason for becoming a chapter. If your regional rep lied and said it was the only way to get it, then shame on him/her.

    But I suppose I am making your point. If insurance wasn’t a unique benefit of becoming a chapter, why become one? For some clubs, it probably makes more sense not to be a chapter. Here in NY, for example, I think of the folks in Oneonta. They have no trails on state forests or state parks. But they have developed a wonderful network of trails on city land and on some state “general services” land (basically a one-off situation). Everything is local and hunky-dory, so why do anything else.

    But if you are at all interested in getting trail built or open on forests managed at the state or federal level, you really can’t go it alone. Even if you have it all worked out with your local guy, he could be overruled some day or retire. The only way to get the policies influenced on the level needed to get results is through a larger organization. For most of us, that is IMBA.

    Look at it this way. You are on this thread because you are concerned about insurance. You recognize the need to have a local club to get trails on the ground or to stay open, so you are doing what it takes to have such a club. You realize that the alternative, rogue building, will piss off the land managers to no end and you will lose whatever access you have now. But I can imagine some regular rider saying “that mountain bike club! They’ve lost their soul. All they do is worry about insurance. Why should I give them my money when all it does is go to an insurance company?” You’ll then find yourself saying the same thing about your local club that I am saying here about IMBA.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I wonder if clubs were building trails and exceeding the dictates of their coverage.
    If you are asking if this was the reason for the lawsuits and the increase in premiums, I don't think so. Not the ones I know much about. In some cases it sounds like the clubs signed bad agreements that put too much responsibility and liability) on them.

    Would it have been the insurance carriers problem if the club was sued for an excluded activity? Not being sarcastic, I am genuinely curious.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmap View Post
    But I suppose I am making your point. If insurance wasn’t a unique benefit of becoming a chapter, why become one?
    We did it for the membership management and back end administrative work that IMBA promised as a chapter. Keep in mind, we have been at this for 28 years, were an IMBA affiliate for almost as long as IMBA was around. Insurance was the biggest part of why we initially joined IMBA, since in litigious California, you pretty much have no trail work, build or maintain, without liability insurance. The board members also recognized that they were targets for the shotgun lawsuit approach.

    Now, back to membership management. Our membership volunteer was tired of handling this after 25 years, but he cannot even get emails about anthing that happens with a member, and Sally just keeps telling him that "it looks right, I don't know what is wrong", and he can get no solutions. Our regional rep, Patrick Kell has been totally silent on the insurance issue. Most of the directors cannot get IMBA essential emails, so they did not see some notices. And IMBA cannot fix the email problems to directors?

    Now the insurance boondoggle.....................
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  50. #50
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    Queen Bee -- send a message to info@imba.com and I will make sure that your e-mail problem gets sorted.

  51. #51
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    Later today I'll be mailing an update on insurance to leaders of IMBA chapters and all clubs that have participated in IMBA's national insurance policy. I'll post it here too after the message has been distributed.

  52. #52
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    Trailmap, your statement:

    "But if you are at all interested in getting trail built or open on forests managed at the state or federal level, you really can’t go it alone. Even if you have it all worked out with your local guy, he could be overruled some day or retire. The only way to get the policies influenced on the level needed to get results is through a larger organization. For most of us, that is IMBA."

    could be considered insulting to some. I'm pretty sure you honestly had no intention to insult anyone with your statement, but some may not feel the same as I.

    SDMBA, as far as I know, is the only mountain biking association in the USA that has built new trail within a USFWS National Wildlife Refuge. We also have/are building miles of new trail within a CDFW Ecological Reserve, one of only eight Ecological Reserves in the State of California that allow mountain bike access. We have done so before we became a chapter last year.

    SDMBA became a chapter last year for the exact same reasons Slocaus mentions. We are experiencing the exact same issues Slocaus is experiencing.

    Time is running out to secure liability insurance and our trail work season will cease this Saturday. SDMBA will continue to seek a new insurance carrier and acquire our own insurance. We will then re-evaluate the chapter agreement and discuss with IMBA some options. I have heard the 60%/40% split of membership dues was not negotiable. Everything in a business agreement is negotiable.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  53. #53
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    slocaus, you can have your membership manager send me his/her info and I'll try to get the communication snafu fixed. mark.eller@imba.com

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Time is running out to secure liability insurance and our trail work season will cease this Saturday. SDMBA will continue to seek a new insurance carrier and acquire our own insurance.
    Did you see the message int the other thread? Looks like we may have found what we are looking for. Associated Agencies Inc.

    IMBA insurance ending - Page 6

    The email contact for the rep (Lee Lazar) is llazar@associated.cc

    IMBA is disseminating this info to it's chapters, but I got the application info sent directly from the carrier to get a start on it.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boulder Pilot View Post
    Trailmap, your statement:

    "But if you are at all interested in getting trail built or open on forests managed at the state or federal level, you really can’t go it alone. Even if you have it all worked out with your local guy, he could be overruled some day or retire. The only way to get the policies influenced on the level needed to get results is through a larger organization. For most of us, that is IMBA."

    could be considered insulting to some. I'm pretty sure you honestly had no intention to insult anyone with your statement, but some may not feel the same as I.

    SDMBA, as far as I know, is the only mountain biking association in the USA that has built new trail within a USFWS National Wildlife Refuge. We also have/are building miles of new trail within a CDFW Ecological Reserve, one of only eight Ecological Reserves in the State of California that allow mountain bike access. We have done so before we became a chapter last year.

    SDMBA became a chapter last year for the exact same reasons Slocaus mentions. We are experiencing the exact same issues Slocaus is experiencing.
    You are right, no intention to insult anyone.

    And as they say, "All generalizations are false"

    But I'd still make the generalization that in most cases, for state and federally managed land, clubs can't go it alone at least in the long run. In a lot of cases, local successes can fall apart when someone higher up in the bureaucracy decides he doesn't like what the local guy did.

    SDMBA seems to be quite a large organization and that's probably why it had some success in getting these pioneer projects done. I'm sure these were successful because they went well beyond the "local guy". But it is the confederation with other groups that is going to enable those successes to be repeated in other areas in the state.

    Does the confederation have to be through the chapter mechanism? No, it doesn't have to. My local club became a chapter for the same organizational reasons you did (and yes, had some glitches at first, but they all got worked out), as well as to promote the confederation that is IMBA because that's the way to best get lasting results. But it isn't necessarily the best option for all clubs.

  56. #56
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    I think fledgling clubs may be reluctant to be stand alone because they perceive the process of becoming a 501C3 to be daunting. I spent a day online and filed our articles of incorporation and bylaws with the State, and filed our 501C3 application with the IRS, a determination which we received within a few weeks. All 3 documents must be consistent with one another to achieve charitable nonprofit status which requires the entity to be educational and charitable. If the organization is not charitable or educational then you qualify for some other tax exempt category which isn't bad, but won't qualify you to be eligible for many corporate gifts, grants, matching contributions, and individual contributions.

    Good financial records need to be maintained, which is easy with Quickbooks, and an annual return must be filed using the online Form 990 epostcard (if revenues are less than $50,00) or the 990-EZ (with revenues up to $500,000). The epostcard takes 5 minutes to complete. The form EZ a bit longer but super easy if you have a tax preparer.

    I'm not saying that this is all a piece of cake but it should definitely not be a deterrent to becoming an independent club.

  57. #57
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    To be fair, IMBA chapters still need to do all that stuff, except file the 501c3 form.

  58. #58
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    Exactly. Fiduciary responsibility is always there. There are numerous benefits of becoming a chapter member. But if an organization wishes to be independent for whatever reason the process isn't as hard as some might think it is.
    Meanwhile, back at the hive....

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypNoTic View Post
    No, they are not. From an insurer point of view, you're building trails. As simple as that.
    Actually it might well be different. I'm making some assumptions here so bear with me.
    A professional trail builder would likely be required to have Workers Compensation insurance. Workers Compensation insurance generally covers employees who are hurt on a job. A volunteer organization would not have said insurance so providing liabillity insurance to such an organization might have more risks that insuring a business.
    Feel free to poke holes in my logic.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    Later today I'll be mailing an update on insurance to leaders of IMBA chapters and all clubs that have participated in IMBA's national insurance policy. I'll post it here too after the message has been distributed.
    I am missing all communications from IMBA still and efforts to resolve it continue. Would you please post your updates here? I know of other chapters and affiliates who have not been receiving IMBA's communications. Thanks.
    Meanwhile, back at the hive....

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Queen Bee View Post
    I am missing all communications from IMBA still and efforts to resolve it continue. Would you please post your updates here? I know of other chapters and affiliates who have not been receiving IMBA's communications. Thanks.
    Yes, ours is one, and a few have emailed Mark E.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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  62. #62
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    This is the last info we have received from IMBA, on Tuesday, 2-25:

    urance Options as of Feb. 25


    IMBA's national insurance policy for chapters and supporting organizations will cease coverage at the end of this month.

    We are in the process of negotiating replacement insurance.

    Dear finance@sdmba.com

    As most of you realize, the chapter/club insurance program that IMBA endorsed in recent years is no longer viable and will cease to operate after February 28.

    IMBA has every intention of replacing the outgoing national insurance program with a better one. Unfortunately this is not something that can be achieved immediately.

    Many local groups are searching for insurance brokers and other sources that offer replacement policies. The following list of resources is meant to support those efforts.

    IMBA has not vetted the policies that these providers offer. Local groups should consider this list as a starting place for their research on replacement insurance plans.

    •Associated Agencies Inc. Contact Lee Lazar. Note: May be able to bind new policies for chapters/clubs by March 1.
    •Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance. Visit ani-rrg.org. Note: Commercial general liability coverage that possibly could be tailored to fits club/chapter needs. Contact and they will refer you to the appropriate broker for your state/region.
    •ESIX. Contact Trish Beyer. Note: Offers general liability policies for independent groups. Working on policies for mountain bike chapters/clubs.
    •League of American Bicyclists. Visit website. Note: Coverage intended for group rides and social events.
    •Marsh & McLennan Agency. Contact Scott Chapin at 715-634-6513. Note: Oversaw the IMBA-endorsed national insurance program, now working with groups individually.
    •Nicholas Hill Benefit Group. Contact Nathan Nicholas. Note: Coverage for events only.
    •Pachner & Associates. Contact Don Pachner at 914-234-2228, or visit website. Note: Specializes in risk management services.
    •The Unity Group. Contact Andrew Olive at 360-734-8025 ext. 238 or via e-mail. Note: General liability options for clubs/chapters.
    For more information, visit this online spread sheet, and read IMBA's insurance update and FAQ (requires login).

    Once again, on behalf of myself and IMBA, I sincerely apologize for the concern that this is causing many of our local groups.

    Thanks for your attention, and please stay tuned for additional updates.

    Sincerely,


    Michael Van Abel
    Executive Director
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  63. #63
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    The dark side of opting out of IMBA marketing emails?

    (A couple years ago, I found that others in our chapter board were receiving emails I was not. I suspected that was because I had set my personal preferences in my imba profile to not receive emails. I changed my preferences, and forgot all about it.)

  64. #64
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    If we cannot wait for trail building insurance quotes to come in and still want to have events only insurance to bridge the gap until a more comprehensive plan becomes available....has anyone gotten a price from LAB or USA Cycling for costs per member or however they charge?

    Our trails are still covered in snow pack with more snow on the way so we can wait to do trail work.

    Also has anyone been successful in bundling together to reach the 5,000 member minimum for RJF? Maybe IMBA's regional guys can do this?
    Michael Vitti
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    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

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