Irish jockeys are still struggling to get indemnity insurance cover almost eight months after the landmark Freddy Tylicki case in Britain.
Tylicki’s successful £6million damages case against former colleague Graham Gibbons was settled in London in December.
The ex-jockey was left paralyzed from the waist down after a fall at Kempton in 2016 and Gibbons was found responsible for the incident.
It was a case that highlighted how, unlike their British colleagues, jockeys in Ireland are not covered for personal liability.
The original optimism about the repair has faded with the Irish Jockey Association (IJA) confirming they have failed to even come up with a quote.
The IJA is now trying to find insurance outside of Ireland, but is seeking help from Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) for what it describes as a “problem of industry”.
Amid renewed attention on racing interference rules and how they are interpreted, IJA Secretary Andrew Coonan said the lack of compensation coverage was a topic. of considerable concern.
“Indeed, there is now very clear case law to define liability issues, albeit on a case-by-case basis. It is entirely possible that the case law could be followed in that jurisdiction if the same thing happened.
“Currently, unlike the UK, no Irish riders are insured for this. Not only are no Irish riders insured for this, but also currently, and despite our best efforts, we cannot obtain quotes even for this insurance.
“Access to insurers is very limited in this country. We were forced, through a broker, to research international insurance companies,” Coonan said on Tuesday.
The IJA official, a lawyer and former amateur jockey, described the Tylicki case as a “game changer” in terms of the implementation of interference rules. He also said racing authorities failed to understand its wider implications for the sport.
“It’s like a lot of these problems that you can foresee: you hope it doesn’t become a problem, but that would be naive of me, as secretary of the jockeys association, and it would be naive not only of riders but other industries. participants such as the IHRB and the HRI to think that this will not happen. And when that happens, we don’t have insurance in place for that.
“We’re looking at a driver-to-driver claim which could be very significant and from that perspective we have to be proactive about it. It’s not something that we can just sit there and say hopefully it doesn’t. will ever happen here. Because as sure as night follows day, it will,” Coonan said.
“When you watch lately, and the focus now is on reckless driving, dangerous driving, interference, whatever, someone gets hurt, someone takes a bad fall as a result of a another rider’s maneuver, and feels that it shouldn’t have happened. The situation will arise here when that rider can potentially claim against another rider and we have to be ready for that,” he added.
Coonan said he remained optimistic that some sort of cover could eventually be found, but warned of the potential cost to jockeys.
“What worries me is the jockey’s ability to pay for it, it’s affordability and what role HRI and IHRB will play in that. It’s not exclusively a jockey problem. It’s an industry problem. There is HRI, the IHRB and the runners themselves. We all need to work together and find a solution,” he commented.
A grant from the authorities to help pay for cover could be one solution or any policy supported by HRI with jockeys paying dues may be another according to the IJA.
“There are many ways to look at this. But the most important factor is getting a quote and having a policy in place,” Coonan said.