When the director of hunting’s governing body – the Hunting Office – was convicted of encouraging others to break the hunting act, one surprising fallout was yet to come. With hunting shown to be systemically fraudulent and corrupt at the highest levels, how could insurance now be offered to the hunters?
At the HSA we don’t claim to be experts in the field, but in late January a piece was published in the leading industry journal, “Insurance Times”, the most widely read commercial magazine for insurance providers and brokers. This piece was titled “Hunting Down The Truth About Trail Hunting Insurance” and cut to the very heart of the issue now facing insurers who are approached by hunts in the UK.
The article quoted an insurance underwriter who had witnessed hunting first-hand, saying, “It is absolutely beyond any doubt that most hunts in the UK break the law, because they involve real foxes”, and “many hundreds of successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act have also proved this point beyond any reasonable doubt”.
Last year it was revealed that AXA UK was heavily involved with the practice. The firm was shown to be the insurer who (incredibly) provided legal fees insurance for every fox, hare, and stag hunt in the UK. In late January however, AXA announced on social media that they no longer are involved with hunting in any form.
It can be no coincidence that this decision was confirmed a mere three months after Mark Hankinson of The Hunting Office was found guilty of encouraging and assisting others to evade the ban on hunting.
The Insurance Times article continues, with a quote from the director of policy and public affairs at the Chartered Insurance Institute who says,
“…the hard line is drawn that insurers won’t cover anything obviously illegal”.
Now in the post-webinar era, it can be nothing other than clear that hunting is illegal from root to branch. Insurers are waking up to this reality and abandoning hunts, which could cause it to become a dangerously unaffordable pastime for those who insist on breaking the law of the land by continuing to harass wildlife.