Confusion on Mt. Baker Over Insurance

Scott-Massey-150x150By Scott Massey

For those of you that have summertime Temporary Special Use Permits for mountaineering on Mt. Baker, Wash., you may have noticed some language that appeared to be different from past practices regarding insurance. It reads:

  1. Liability. The holder shall have in force liability insurance covering losses associated with the use and occupancy authorized by this permit arising from personal injury or death and third-party property damage in the minimum amount of $2,000,000.00 as a combined single limit per occurrence.

This was brought to my attention after several guides contacted New York-based Don Pachner, one of the industry’s leading insurance brokers, to clarify the language. The concern was that this language appeared to be doubling the commonly accepted amount of per occurrence general liability coverage needed for a 50-service day permit, a significant and potentially prohibitive increase for most operators.

However, after several contacts with the permit administrators, it was confirmed that this is an issue of interpretation and land managers’ discretion in managing guided use. It is also the language that has been in place for the past several years. The commonly accepted coverage amounts of $1M per occurrence/$2M general aggregate are still accepted, and there is no plan to increase the accepted amounts. To generalize for everyone’s sake, it is a good reminder to completely read through your permit language and to ask clarifying questions if there are items you don’t understand. Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion and kept the AMGA in the loop. In case more resources need to be brought to the table, please continue to keep me in the loops on issues like this.