It has been a few weeks now since my last communication but there has been plenty going on behind the scenes at Ski Racing Australia. The Board has met (via Zoom of course) to get the season up and running as quickly as possible. Obviously there has been a lot to get through and sign off on and happily we are much closer now than a month or so ago in hitting the water again.
Firstly, without insurance we can’t go racing! This was the first piece of the puzzle and I can confirm it has been renewed for the 2020/21 season.
You will all remember that there was a substantial hike in our insurance premium last year (just short of an extra 50%). This left us with an insurance premium at an unsustainably high level and put significant pressure on SRA’s finances last year.
The good news is that we have been able to renew our insurance so we will be going racing.
The brake on that good news is that we have only been able to achieve our current insurance premium this year through other changes.
The first change is to our insurance. While the premium we have been able to achieve is less than last year, it is still very high and to avoid another unsustainable premium, we now have a cap of only 24 sanctioned events we can run within the current premium during this coming season. Our insurer will allow us to potentially add a very small number of events over that cap, but each event would come with large extra insurance costs and risks which would need to be borne by the individual club. These costs will be prohibitively high for most clubs and events and are too high for SRA to cover over and above the existing insurance premiums we have to pay.
We have also restructured the Personal Accident policy. The new policy coverage will shortly be up on the website for the coming season that members should be familiar with, but also incorporates changes, including reductions in some areas but some new benefits. In summary the policy now provides for:
- Weekly Income benefit of $750 per week (weeks 1-13),
reducing further to $500 (weeks 14-26)
- Maximum Percentage of Salary of 75%
- Maximum Benefit Period now 26 weeks
- Excess Period now 21 days
- Non- Medicare Medical Benefit of $3,000
- Emergency Transport Benefit of $20,000
- Accidental Death benefit now $25,000.
As I mentioned to you in my last message, a key focus for the Board is making sure that SRA survives the current economic challenges; remains financially viable and can continue to serve our skiing membership. This has meant that membership fees have had to increase to some extent for the coming season:
- Superclass and Unlimited members will have a 15% increase on their fees for 2020/21 and
- Family memberships will increase by 20% (and still provide good savings on individual membership fees); and
- All other membership fees will increase by 10%.
Our SRA board members have been engaging with the state/territory committees and discussing a likely increase to the event sanction fees for the coming season, noting that these will be the first increases to sanction fees in several years.
The Board has also been examining the key risk areas for the sport, including across membership classes and events and will continue to do this to inform the clubs and membership around risk management, skill development and event profiles. This will also allow us to work with our insurer around the sport’s current risk profile and premium levels.
With COVID-19 increasingly under control in most of Australia, we are (hopefully) close to getting back onto the water. The major classics calendar has been put up on the website and Series Days and Point Scores will follow shortly.
I would like to thank the SRA Board, and our small SRA team for all the work they have been putting in on your behalf. Sue (Memberships Manager) has worked tirelessly and predominantly on her own and is shortly to enjoy some well-deserved leave, while Cam, who has been working part-time and remotely as our Sport Development Contractor for the last 8 months, has agreed to resume his role as CEO, still on a part-time basis.
All the Board welcome Cam back to the CEO position and look forward to working with him and Sue to continue to grow this great sport.
Yours in Ski Racing,
Chair – Ski Racing Australia Inc.