Forced by spiralling rates for commercial insurance, in 1984 the National Association of Regional Game Councils formed its own scheme of self-protection for its Members and called it the "NARGC Compensation Fund". Opposition to the move was rife at the time, particularly from vested interests in the insurance world and to some extent Government also, no doubt ably fuelled by the self-same protagonists. However, the Association was determined to push ahead with its carefully thought-out plan and can now boast about having commenced something that has truly been a monumental success.
In the period since its commencement, the Fund has handled almost 1,550 claims, ranging from minor occurrences like dogs colliding with motorcars or dogs killing sheep to more serious incidents like accidental bodily injury and even fatalities. In all, close to €6m has been paid out in claims compensation and the Fund itself, though starting from virtually scratch, has amassed assets which now exceed €8m. The ceiling of indemnity provided by the Fund is €10m each and every claim occurring and to facilitate this, the Fund has an Excess of Loss Policy in operation. In practical terms this means that the Fund pays the initial excess sum of €1m for any serious claim occurring and after this, the EoL Policy cuts in to pay the balance up to €9m. However, since the inception of the EoL Policy some 15 years ago, its services have never been required.
Although received with some general scepticism initially, probably because of its innovation more than anything else, the Fund has now gained wide acclaim and is accepted by Government, State Bodies and commercial interests alike as a valid provider of liability protection. Included are The Dept. of Defence, Coillte Teo., Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association (ICMSA), County Councils, Port Authorities, Bord na Mona and many more. This broad acceptance applies not alone in Ireland but overseas as well for Association Members who travel abroad on shooting expeditions within the territory of the EU.
The scope of protection in simplistic terms protects Members for third party and/or member-to-member liability arising in the course of their shooting activities while using a shotgun or rifle and pursuing any game or pest species or while involved in clay target shooting, rifle shooting and pistol shooting, archery and recreational fishing. In addition, Fund Members are protected if their dog causes injury or damage to persons or property, e.g. bites someone or, while on a public road without a lead (unlawful in itself), collides with a motor vehicle or perhaps knocks someone off a bicycle. In addition, Members are protected for liability arising from poison laying activities (vermin control) or the use of a lamp at night (fox shooting). Many other minor yet important facets of protection also apply and are detailed to Members when they join.
Membership of the Fund is limited to Members of Gun Clubs only and individual applications regretfully cannot be catered for. So when somebody joins a Gun Club, membership of the Fund and the availability of protection from it go hand in hand once the basic paperwork has been processed.
Chris Gavican has been a co-founder of the Fund and its National Administrator since inception. He has a wide knowledge of litigation, insurance and actuarial affairs. Unlike commercial insurance, the Fund can and does operate with a much greater degree of compassion and understanding and anyone who has had dealings with it will vouch for this fact.
Information of the Fund can be obtained by contacting Chris at
The NARGC Compensation Fund Office,
Brookside House, Ahanagh,
Free Phone: 1800 222 444
Fax: 071 9638429