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.

Club Accident Insurance Scheme

Other than in the limited circumstances set out in SDR 23, it is compulsory for member clubs to participate in the Club Accident Insurance Scheme.

The Club Accident Insurance Scheme provides free catastrophic injury cover to those playing for an insured team. Scottish Rugby asks that clubs make a copy of the Scheme Summary available to their players (such that all players are informed as to the Scheme’s benefits, and of its limitations, prior to taking to the field).

Clubs should also specifically discuss with their players whether the club is going to take out the optional ‘temporary injury cover’ available under the Scheme. The players should be informed as to whether this cover is ultimately taken out by the club.

Finally, Scottish Rugby recommends that all players individually consider whether, in their own personal circumstances, they should additionally take out their own personal insurance cover (i.e. over and above that available under the Club Accident Insurance Scheme).

The 2023/24 Proposal Form is available for completion on SCRUMS. Clubs are required to complete this process by 15th September 2023. Failure to return a Proposal Form by that date may lead to the club being suspended from playing and/or training.

A Summary of the Club Accident Insurance Scheme is available below:

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 Approvals and Permission to Tour, 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.


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

Frequently Asked Questions: Club Accident Insurance Scheme (Compulsory Cover)

  • Who is covered by the Player Insurance regulation?

    The Regulation covers all clubs in membership of the Scottish Rugby Union, all affiliated Scottish schools and visiting clubs/schools during their stay in Scotland.

  • 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.

  • Is loss of earnings automatically 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 part of the Club Scheme?

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

Frequently Asked Questions: 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 2022/23 is £350 /team including Insurance Premium Tax (£250/team for clubs with only teams playing 5 or fewer fixtures). 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 six 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 in respect of their playing earnings (as the playing of rugby as a paid occupation is a specific exclusion). Clubs concerned should make alternative arrangements in respect of such players. The player may still receive benefit in respect of their non-playing earnings (if applicable).

Frequently Asked Questions: Schools’ Personal Accident Insurance Scheme

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

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