Australian Insurance FAQ
Qu: What makes an event official?
SCA corpora http://www.sca.org/docs/pdf/govdocs.pdf%3E section IIA states that “All Society events must be sponsored by branches of the Society, registered with the Seneschal of the sponsoring branch, publicized at least to the members of that branch, and conducted according to Society rules.” So an event must be approved by the group seneschal and advertised to the group as an SCA event, and it must comply with all rules such as collection of indemnities, marshallate rules for fighting, etc. For further enquiries about the details of how this is administered, please contact the kingdom seneschal.
QU: Can we have an official meeting in one room while our friends have an unofficial practice in another room?
The SCA Ltd does not have unofficial events. If the event has been officially approved by the group seneschal, then it is an official event and requires insurance.
If the venue is hired by the SCA (or in any way uses the SCA name in order to hire the venue) then it all has to be covered by SCA insurance and therefore everything done on the site must be run by SCA rules. If, in the unlikely event something goes wrong for a third-party or damage is done to a venue, you would want the SCA Ltd's insurance to cover costs (instead of being liable for all costs associated with damage or injury or obtaining your own public liability insurance) then you need it to be an official event with waivers and $5 from non-members.
To hold a practice adjacent to an official meeting/event/activity, or in the same time and place as a regular activity is normally held is likely to cause confusion and imply that the practice is part of the SCA meeting. If the activity could be very easily confused for an official SCA activity, then the activity must be run as an SCA event and comply with SCA rules.
If the official SCA activity is clearly separated from a private activity (e.g. an event followed by a member issuing an invitation to everyone present to “come back to my place for coffee”) then the private event will not be an SCA event and will not be covered by SCA Ltd insurance, and will not be able to use SCA assets (e.g. archery equipment, pavilions) except where borrowed under the same arrangements any group outside the SCA might make.
Qu: Can me and a few friends just practice combat in a park unofficially?
While SCA Ltd cannot regulate what members do on their own time, as long as no impression is given that this is an SCA event, and no SCA resources are used (ie SCA insurance or name is not used to hire a park), practising combat in a public place could be a very bad idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, if a bystander is injured as a result of the combat practice, SCA insurance does not cover the combatants because it was not an official event, so the individuals could be sued for injuries.
Secondly, a number of members of the public can be quite concerned by the use of weapons in a public place, and there have been instances in the past of the public calling the police regarding an SCA event. Most explanations of what you were doing with weapons in the park involve using the name of the SCA, and thus your unofficial activities still reflect upon the reputation of the SCA. In some states actions which link weapons use with the SCA may severely endanger our ability to maintain an exemption that permits us to own certain weapons (even if these were not the weapons practiced with), such as swords, that would be illegal for general members of the public. SCA Ltd will not support members in negotiations with authorities regarding weapons usage at non-SCA events.
In other cases, members of the public have complained to venue hirer (i.e. the local council) about weapons use at an event. Where the local council has been forewarned that weapons use will occur at an event, and that safety standards are in place, they can reassure the public. For an unofficial event, where the hirer has not been informed, a stronger reaction is likely, and the SCA may find it difficult to hire the park for legitimate events in the future as the result of complaints about what a few of its members did on their own time.
In the light of the above, the SCA Ltd strongly advises its members to consider if their private actions of practicing weapons in a park to take care in ensuring that their actions are clearly not linked to the SCA, remember that no insurance coverage will be available, and advises that no activities are undertaken where the event/activity might impact upon the SCA.
Qu: What does the insurance actually cover?
SCA Ltd insurance cover notes can be found on the board website at http://sca.org.au/board/index.php?page=governance. Basically the policies cover participants against their damaging property or bystanders as a result of doing normal SCA activities.
The policy also covers the organisation for a number of crippling major incidents that could occur, for example above excess costs if we have an expensive tax investigation, loss of large amounts of money as a result of a crime (fidelity insurance), and the policy insures directors against poor decisions made with the best intentions and diligence, which ensures we get higher quality candidates for board positions, not only those who own no major assets (like a house which could be claimed in legal actions) or are unaware of the risks.
The insurance policy only covers anyone while they are following the SCA rules (including all marshallate and waiver rules), at SCA events which have been properly approved.
Qu:Does a non-member who is present at a non-demo event have to pay the event membership if not participating in the event?
A person conducting their normal business within the venue of an event or meeting as they would when the SCA was absent (eg a tradesperson conducting work, a venue owner, a dog walker in a park) is not considered to be present at an event, as long as they do not do any actions other than their normal business. Under these conditions, no event membership is payable.
A key determining factor for non-participation is if the person would have been at the location regardless of if the event/activity were occurring. For example a number of SCA members may attend a fighter training, despite not being combatants, in order to socialise with other non-combatants. These people would not have been at the location if the fighter training were not occurring, so are participating in the event.
In a public place, a bystander who chanced upon a tournament could ask a few questions about what the SCA was at the edge of the event, but as they participated in the event more than a spectator would at a demo (for example swinging a sword, even at a pell), then they would need to sign in to the event and pay an insurance fee.
If a meeting was held in a private residence, another (not the SCA host) resident of the place who does not participate in the SCA might be able to wander into the room, chat with participants a little, but should not undertake any activities. The non-SCA resident would be at the location of the residence (their home) regardless of the SCA meeting.
Non-members who have attended SCA Ltd events before as members/event members will not be considered bystanders as they can be assumed to know enough about SCA rules to know an event membership is required.
For more information, see the Insurance FAQ at http://sca.org.au/board/documents/insurance