Three years after the FA made insurance mandatory for English 11-a-side teams some in the grassroots game think NGIS ‘is not worth paper it’s written on” we read in the Guardian this week.

With payouts of only £30 per week following a temporary disablement, such as a broken leg, many players have been left disappointed and in financial hardship following a match-day mishap.

But is the mandatory insurance really worthless?

We think, no. Here’s why:

An employee at a large international firm with generous sick pay might be happy with the basic policy, as the premium is low and they wouldn’t lose out financially for weeks in the event of an injury. The modest insurance payout may go part way to paying for fortnightly physio to aid with his recovery, or a load of chocolate, or a crate of beers. A freelance copy editor might be able to continue work on their laptop from the sofa and the player who took early retirement might have to miss several rounds of golf but watch a lot of daytime TV instead.

None of these players are likely to lose out financially due to their injury. For them, a higher premium, offering more generous payouts, may be unnecessary.

However, for a self-employed, single-parent plumber, the small insurance payout would have very little impact, when faced with several weeks out of work and without generating their own income. It could have disastrous and far-reaching consequences. The payment really wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on, in this case.

One of the big problems highlighted in the article is “The players don’t have an insight on what they can claim.”

Ok, we LOVE insurance and think it’s really interesting. But, we appreciate that not everyone feels so excited or engaged by it, and we think that this is where the benefits of the mandatory scheme comes a cropper.

The great thing about the mandatory scheme is that it gets people thinking about and talking about insurance…unless it doesn’t…

For the NGIS scheme to have any value, it is important that clubs and players look carefully at what the mandatory insurance scheme covers and what it offers. Following discussions, the club can then either agree to buy enhanced cover that could offer a more generous payout when needed, or help players understand their personal risks and come up with a plan B.

For example, we would advise the plumber to purchase their own individual personal accident policy. It works the same way as the group policy, but only pays out for this one player, and they can choose the limits, based on his average income and expenses. Not only that, but it would cover the player during their own occupation and even for 24 hour cover, benefiting the player for injuries sustained not just on the field. Both policies can operate simultaneously and the player can claim on both policies for the same incident – so he can then use the thirty quid group policy payout for physio, chocolate or beer, like his teammates!

Clubs and players need to be intentional about their insurance cover. There should be no surprises. If you’re going to buy any insurance policy it’s important you understand what it can do, and that is where the services of an insurance broker become invaluable.

The FA have made a positive step in making sure clubs and players consider the value of insurance. It is important that they support clubs, by ensuring that players are not offered a false sense of security, but fully understand the benefits of constraints of the premium they have purchased.

Other sports bodies do not require their members to have Group Personal Accident insurance like this in place, but it is clearly a wise measure to take.

We are happy to come along to talk to your sports club to discuss the various options and discuss the different risks and implications. Give us a ring on 0191 438 79 77 or email for more information or to arrange a free insurance review.