If you don’t know about it yet, I own a Saab 9-3 Viggen, which I crashed during a driver training day back in July. Since then, there’s been a slow procession of letters back and forth between myself and my insurer. Both of us are being quite stubborn and whilst they have the possession of funds on their side (posession is supposedly 9-tenths of the law, as you know), I’m hoping that a good sober argument will win the day.
In their last rejection of my claim, they stated that because the event received a permit from the Confederation of Australian Motorsports (CAMS) it was an excluded event from my policy.
This has led me to engaging a lawyer to ask the right questions of CAMS and find out exactly how they viewed the event. The end result is that the event was linked with CAMS as they provide the insurance for the club that ran the event. Other than that and an advertisement on the CAMS website, they had nothing to do with it.
The insurer specifically mentions “events that come under the jurisdiction of CAMS” as excluded events. This is clearly aimed at competitive events and they’re hiding behind it to get out of approving my claim.
Well, go and take a look at the CAMS Manual. This manual contains all the permits, conditions and standards that apply when running a CAMS event. They have non-speed events covered in the manual as well as timed events and one would assume that a driver training day would be a non-speed event if it were to be covered by CAMS.
The problem is that despite a myriad of rules and regulations for almost every event you could imagine, there’s no regulations whatsoever to govern the conduct of a driver training event. None. Zero. Nada. Nix. Nothing.
So how does an event come under CAMS’s jurisdiction if there’s no regulations in place for them to govern it (i.e. have jurisdiction over it)?
The answer’s simple – the policy exclusion wasn’t meant to apply to an event like the one I attended, but they’re going to try and hide behind it anyway.
The lawyer has drafted the letter and I’ve added my 0.02c worth as well and it’s been sent off. I should get a reply in the next week or so. I’m not expecting a positive reply as history’s taught me that they aren’t really interested in seeing any point of view but their own. They’re not in the business to hand out money unless they really have to.
This is the last internal avenue of appeal, so after that it’s off to the Insurance Industry Ombudsman.
I miss my car…..
A copy of the most recent letter sent to the insurer is reproduced after the jump
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 17 September 2007.
Pursuant to your last paragraph I request that this matter be escalated to the Chief Executive’s representative for further consideration.
I enclose a copy of a letter received on my behalf from CAMS.
It is contended that the clear intention of clause 13 of my policy is to preclude cover for competitive activity involving the insured vehicle unless the Club Racing optional endorsement exists.
However evidence from the enclosed copy information provided by CAMS clearly shows that the activity during which my vehicle was damaged was a non-competitive activity.
I also draw your attention to CAMS’s own documentation, available on their website (http://www.camsmanual.com.au/). It should be noted that there are no regulations in that entire online manual to govern the conduct of driver training events. Your contention that this was a CAMS activity that should negatively affect my policy is at odds with the fact that CAMS do not have any guidelines in place to govern the event over which you claim they had jurisdiction.
It was the type of activity which could be conducted by any person in unsupervised circumstances but the involvement of CAMS meant that the club hosting the event was insured, and the activity was conducted by experienced personnel in controlled circumstances – and in circumstances where it was more likely to be beneficial as a driver training day. My previous correspondence with you confirms the activities that took place, which were designed to give participants a greater insight into their car’s behaviour in adverse circumstances.
I reiterate that there was no level of competition involved. There was no timing undertaken. There were no results published. There was no requirement to wear helmets and there was a speed limit imposed on the day.
My participation in the event was on the basis that I sought to improve my knowledge of my vehicle dynamics and expand my personal experience in circumstances which were controlled, responsible and under expert supervision.
It is contended that it is unreasonable that my claim be regarded in the same way as a claim arising from competitive activity. My insurance with ******* was effected on the basis that your Company encouraged responsible enthusiastic use of cars which are other than run of the mill.
I request that you give favourable consideration to my claim.