Personal Accident Insurance: Scottish Rugby’s Regulation

Serious injuries are thankfully very rare within Scottish rugby. However, as part of our duty of care to our players, Scottish Rugby has determined that all those playing within Scotland must be provided with appropriate catastrophic injury insurance cover whilst playing. The specific requirements for player insurance are set out within Scottish Domestic Regulation 23, Player Insurance (“SDR 23”). SDR 23 builds on World Rugby’s Regulation 23 on Insurance.

  • SDR 23 : Player Insurance

    1. The Scottish Rugby Union (“Scottish Rugby”) acknowledges that it is obliged to comply with those Regulations Relating to the Game issued from time to time by World Rugby (WR).

    2. Scottish Rugby recognises that the WR has issued a specific Regulation in respect of player Insurance (WR Regulation 23). The Scottish Rugby Board has adopted WR Regulation 23 within Scottish Rugby’s domestic regulations.

    3. The Domestic Regulation set out below relates to Player Insurance within Scottish Rugby’s area of jurisdiction. All those within Scottish Rugby’s jurisdiction are required to comply with this Regulation.

    Catastrophic Injury Cover

    General Requirement

    4. No club or team may play contact rugby football (within any the forms of the game recognised by WR) without ensuring that each of its participating players have the benefit of catastrophic injury insurance cover on a basis approved by Scottish Rugby.

    5. No club or team may play contact rugby football against a club or team which it knows, or reasonably should have known, does not have in place the insurance cover set out in 4 above.

    Approved Cover

    6. Other than as noted in 7 and 8 below, it is a mandatory requirement that all Full Member and Associate clubs participate in Scottish Rugby’s Club Accident Insurance Scheme. In accordance with the SRU Bye-Laws, member clubs are required to complete and return a Club Accident Insurance Proposal Form no later than 15 September each year.

    7. Armed Services clubs may choose to participate in either the Scottish Rugby Scheme or in the RFU’s personal accident insurance arrangements, but shall be required to notify the Secretary of the SRU in writing by 15 September each season if their club chooses to participate in the RFU scheme.

    8. Member clubs based outside Scotland and not participating in the Scottish Rugby’s competition structures shall participate in the personal accident insurance arrangements operated by the club’s primary Union.

    Individual Cover for Older Players

    9. Prior to selecting any player outwith the upper age limit for full contact rugby under the Club Accident Insurance Scheme, a club must ensure that the player has the benefit of catastrophic injury cover at least equivalent to that available under the Scheme for an equivalent Golden Oldie Player.

    10. Schools affiliated to the Scottish Rugby Union shall receive the benefit of Scottish Rugby’s Schools’ Personal Accident Scheme.

    Incoming Touring Teams

    11. In accordance with SDR 16 Match Approvals and Permission to Tour, it is a precondition for permission to host a tour that the host club/school has ascertained that the visiting team has in place such personal accident and other insurances as may be appropriate.

    Additional Requirements in respect of Scottish Contract Players

    12. In accordance with SDR 4.1 Player Status and Player Contracts,where the aggregate value of the Benefits provided to a player in any 12 month period exceeds (or is expected to exceed) £12,000, the player shall be regarded as being a Scottish Contract Player.

    13. In respect of all Scottish Contract Players the additional insurance requirements of WR Regulation 23 shall apply.

    Disciplinary Matters

    14. Failure to comply with this Regulation shall be an offence subject to potential disciplinary proceedings.

    15. Any disciplinary procedures arising under the Regulation shall be conducted in accordance with the Misconduct procedures set out within Scottish Rugby’s Rules for Disciplinary Procedures.

Club Accident Insurance Scheme

Other than in the very limited circumstances set out in SDR 23, it is compulsory for all member clubs to participate in Scottish Rugby’s Club Accident Insurance Scheme. Under the Scheme clubs are required to return an insurance Proposal Form to the Union by 15 September each year. Failure to meet this deadline may lead to the club being suspended from playing or training, and ultimately being removed from membership of the Union. The key club documents in relation to the Scheme are:

The Scheme provides free catastrophic injury cover to those playing for an insured team. In addition Scottish Rugby strongly recommends that all clubs (a) discuss with their players whether the optional temporary injury cover should be taken out by the club; and (b) recommend to their players that they each consider whether, in their personal circumstances, they should be making further insurance provision for themselves.

Schools’ Personal Accident Insurance Scheme

All schools affiliated to Scottish Rugby benefit from Scottish Rugby’s Schools’ Personal Accident Scheme. There is no requirement for the affiliated school to return a proposal form or to declare the number of teams requiring to be covered. Catastrophic injury cover is automatic for affiliated schools.

Single Game Insurance Cover

In accordance with SDR 16 Match and Tour Approvals,games involving “scratch teams” are only permitted with the prior written approval of Scottish Rugby. One of the key requirements for approval is that any scratch team has in place appropriate insurance cover. Cover can be effected by submitting a single match Proposal Form together with the appropriate remittance.

Paid Players

Member clubs are specifically reminded that additional insurance requirements may exist where they are paying players. These can range from the need to amend their Employers and Public Liability cover to recognise their professional/semi-professional players through to the specific additional player insurance requirements set out in WR Regulation 23. Scottish Rugby recommends that all clubs paying or providing material benefits to any player discuss their potential additional insurance obligations with their insurance adviser.

Public Liability Insurance

Scottish Rugby assists member clubs and match officials in relation to the "rugby risk" associated with the game. For further details please see:

Please Note: Clubs should make appropriate arrangements in relation to their non-rugby Public Liability risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Player insurance can be a complex area. To assist those involved in our game we have prepared a quick summary of Frequently Asked Questions.

Club Accident Insurance Scheme : Compulsory Cover

  • What is the “Compulsory Cover”?

    The compulsory cover relates to death (other than through natural causes) and catastrophic injuries whilst playing or training with an insured team or club. Catastrophic injuries are significant injuries with enduring effects and range from quadriplegia through to, for example, the permanent loss of a thumb or wrist. Further detail as to the injuries covered, and the associated level of insurance benefit, is provided in the Personal Accident Insurance Summary document.

  • How is the degree of injury assessed?

    For injuries resulting from traumatic brain or catastrophic spinal cord injury the level of benefit are assessed using the medically recognised Glasgow Outcome or the ASIA Impairment scales.

  • Who is covered?

    The scheme is designed primarily to cover players but extends to cover certain others involved in the game.

  • Does the player have to be a member of the club? / What if the player hasn’t paid his club subscription?

    The scheme is based on insured teams. If you play for an insured team you are covered irrespective of whether you are actually a member of the club, have paid this year’s subscription, etc.

  • How does Scottish Rugby know how many teams a club has to insure?

    Each club is required to send Scottish Rugby an Insurance Proposal Form each Season. Scottish Rugby’s Bye-Laws require this to be returned no later than 15 September each year.

  • When does the scheme operate?

    Players are covered whilst training or playing. Limited benefits may also apply whilst travelling to matches (but not travelling to training).

  • What are the Age Limits on the Policy?

    Generally cover runs from age 4 to 59. A range of benefits is also available to those playing under the Golden Oldie Laws up to the age of 79. Please note that if you are over 59 you are not covered to play full contact rugby.

  • What is the position of players who receive payment/benefits from their club?

    The playing of rugby as a paid occupation is a policy exclusion. Such players will not benefit from the Permanent Total Disablement (Usual Occupation) section of the Policy. Clubs concerned should make alternative arrangements in respect of such players.

  • If I receive a temporary injury which prevents me from working will my wages be covered?

    No, this is not part of the compulsory cover provided. Clubs are able to purchase voluntary temporary disablement cover under a separate part of the scheme.

  • How are injuries reported?

    Clubs should use the online injury reporting tool provided on the Scottish Rugby website. In relation to potentially very serious injuries clubs are asked to contact their representative on the Scottish Rugby Council immediately.

  • Who pays for the Compulsory Cover?

    Scottish Rugby pays for the entire cost of the compulsory Catastrophic Injury cover.

Club Accident Insurance Scheme: Optional Cover

  • What is the Optional Cover?

    The optional cover relates to Temporary Total Disablement. This is where the injury prevents the player from doing his normal occupation for a period e.g. a joiner breaks his arm and is unable to work until it heals.

  • Do I automatically receive temporary disablement cover?

    No, it is optional and you will only receive it if it is taken out by your club. Clubs are asked to discuss this decision with their players.

  • Who pays for the cover?

    The club pays for the cover. The cost for 2015/16 is £387/team and, if taken out, all adult teams at the club must be covered.

  • What is the benefit payable?

    The benefit is £300/week (for up to a maximum of 104 weeks).There is a 6 week deferment period. What is this? No benefit is payable during the first six weeks after the injury.

  • What is the position of players who receive payments/benefits from the club?

    Such players will not benefit from the Temporary Total Disablement section of the Policy as the playing of rugby as a paid occupation is a specific exclusion. Clubs concerned should make alternative arrangements in respect of such players.

Schools’ Personal Accident Insurance Scheme

Contact details

If you can't find the information you're looking for or have a specific query in relation to Player Insurance matters please email or contact Scottish Rugby's Head of Regulation, Graham Ireland, at [email protected] or 0131 346 5004.

Newsletter signup

Sign-up for our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Scottish Rugby.

sign up

Principal Partners