Baptist Insurance Services Update – Jumping Castles & Inflatables

Home / Baptist Insurance Services Update – Jumping Castles & Inflatables

Dear Baptist Family Constituents,

As you may be aware, this Renewal has been particularly difficult, and is the hardest insurance market we have encountered to date. Thankfully, the establishment of the Discretionary Mutual Fund has helped significantly to reduce overall costs.

We advised that cover for Public Liability had increased by 100% and we have worked hard to absorb those costs for you as much as we can.  The market for liability lines of cover has shown a high degree of caution from insurers – hence the significant price hike.  They are less prepared to take on risk activities with some Insurers offering the bare minimum in cover.

You may recall the jumping castle incident in Tasmania in 2021 that killed six children and seriously injured others.  As a result, jumping castles were banned in Tasmania.  Since that time we have seen a steady increase in caution around jumping castles and other types of inflatable devices from insurers.  This year, many insurers will no longer insure this.  There are a number of jumping castle owners/businesses that can no longer obtain cover themselves, and as a result ask you as the hirer to use your own public liability cover.

Unfortunately, the stance on these types of activities has now extended to our Scheme.  Unfortunately, there is no longer any cover for jumping castles, inflatables and the like, despite lengthy discussions with our insurer and the provision of detailed risk management plans we provide to churches.

We understand that many churches and organisations use jumping castles and inflatables on fun days/fairs, etc, as a way to connect with and embrace their communities and we understand that many churches own inflatables themselves and this news will be a great disappointment.  However, we need to advise you that the Insurer has excluded cover for this in their Liability policy wording, so we need to request that you no longer use/lend/hire out jumping castles in your church/organisation activities. If you do and there is an accident or injury or even death, there is no cover, and you will be held personally liable. This personal liability may also extend to the senior pastor/principal/or designated leader (dependent on the wording of your Constitution) of your organisation and you may face civil charges.

If you use an external company who has their own liability insurance cover and you still wish to go ahead and hire the castle, we would ask you to contact your local BIS State Manager first.  There is no vicarious liability cover also, which means if an injury or death occurs and a lawyer pursues the church/organisation as well as the third party company, there is no cover for the church.  Again, the church or the pastor/principal/designated leader could be sued or even face criminal/civil charges.

If you still pursue using a third party for a jumping castle, you would need to:

  • Obtain a copy of their Public Liability Certificate of Currency (we recommend it states a limit of indemnity of no less than $20million)
  • Ensure the company takes full responsibility to set-up (including choosing the most appropriate site/area), pack-up and be onsite to run the activity themselves, taking full control
  • Obtain a risk assessment document from the company as well as compiling your own risk assessment – both of which we would recommend sending to BIS to review.
  • Organise a written agreement between you and the company noting the responsibility of the company – the goal here would be to cover any gaps that a lawyer could find to sue the church/organisation

It is our strong recommendation that jumping castles/inflatables are no longer used by all our constituents. We also request that for any potentially high risk activities, you check with BIS to ensure there is cover in place.

One of our goals at Baptist Insurance Services is to ensure cover is in place behind the scenes so that you are released to do what God has called you to do.  When we encounter these types of scenarios, we know that it can impact your mission.  We also share your disappointment, but we are here to provide advice and ensure you are as protected as much as possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Stefanie Binnie
State Manager, QLD
Baptist Insurance Services Ltd
T:  041 000 4293