One for the lawyers out there….Viggen update

I made my initial submission to the Insurance Industry Ombudsman a few weeks ago and they’ve sent a letter asking for a full submission (the initial submission is made online). I’d take this to mean that they’re interested in pursuing the situation. Which is great.

So now I have to prepare all of my documentation and send it into them for review. And I think I’ve finally secured the final piece to the puzzle.

My insurance company’s denial hinges on the following phrase in my policy:

“….cover will not be provided if such course (i.e. driver training course – SW) comes under the jurisdiction of Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) or any other motor sport governing body, or where there are no designated instructors in attendance, except where this is covered by the Club Racing Optional Endorsement”

They’ve claimed that because the club running the event was a CAMS affiliated club, and because CAMS issued a permit for the event, that insurance can therefore be denied based on that clause in the policy.

My counterpoint to that is that the CAMS permit only means that the organiser is covered by their CAMS 3rd party property insurance. The issue of a CAMS permit doesn’t imply that they had jurisdiction over the event – and this is the crux of the matter.

Finally, just now, I’ve received written confirmation from CAMS that they do not have any guidelines or regulations whatsoever for the conduct of a Driver Training Event. The CAMS motorport manual is quite comprehensive and includes regulations on various non-competitive events. These events must comply with these guidelines if they’re to be a CAMS event. There are no such regulations in place for a driver training day, however, and CAMS have just said so to me, in writing:

Dear Steven,

In response to your query re regulations for Driver Training Days, I confirm that no specific regulations exist and a CAMS permit for the activity was issued to the organiser on the basis that activity was conducted as a “Non Competitive Activity”.

For such a permit to be issued, the organisers must convince CAMS that vehicles would not be driven in a manner that would endanger participants or officials.

In this case this was done by the organiser providing CAMS with a description of the proposed activity and identified (sic) a suitably qualified person who would be responsible to ensure that the activity was conducted in accordance with that advice.

So, all you legal eagles out there – am I right?

I’m contending that CAMS would only have jurisdiction over events where they have regulations in place to govern the conduct of the event. To have authority over an event you have to have an instrument in place that confers that authority, right? There’s no regulation in place to establish CAMS’ jurisdiction over the event, regardless of the fact that they had standards to meet in order to be happy to provide their 3rd party coverage.

I’m feeling quite happy about all of this, at the moment at least.

I have to make copies of all my paperwork then write up a comprehensive tome that summarises my point of view.

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  1. I wish I knew. I have to get my file together and send it in. I have three big tasks this week and that’s one of them. The first one is our 2007 tax returns, to be done tonight. Once I get it submitted, hopefully it won’t be too long until they take the discussion up to the insurers, but there’s no guarantees.

    Fingers crossed.

  2. best of luck swadey!!! I hope you take those bastards to the cleaners… as they say in the USA: We are rooting for you! 🙂


  3. Hi Swade,

    I am a barrister in Melbourne. I don’t specialize in insurance law- just general commercial law. I’d be happy to assist in some limited way as I enjoy your site and have been visiting regularly for some years ( I own a couple of Saabs – a 2003 95 Linear Estate and a 1987 900 convertible- I don’t have a clue about the mechanical side of things but I love the look of the cars)

    The word ‘jurisdicition ‘ in your policy is a strange one, as ‘jurisdiction’ normally means “legal power: (law) the right and power to interpret and apply the law; e.g “courts having jurisdiction in this district”.

    At first blush your argument seems right to me. CAMS had no “legal power’ over the event. They did not control it , nor could they take any action over it- As I understand it they could not have slapped penalties on drivers or anything like that. But to advise properly I would need to take a good look at all the CAMS stuff like their constitution etc and I’m afraid i just won’t have time until mid Jan 08 at the earliest.

    Hopefully by then the Ombudsman will have ruled in your favour!

    Feel free to ask me any specific questions at any time. Good luck.


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