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MrsSmith

Local Tour Permits

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We file them for EVERYTHING. So.. we sometimes get the comment from the council, "You don't need one for this." And we respond, "Just trying to stay in practice." Not a problem.

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Mrs. Smith,

 

As you may have gathered by now, there are no consistent policies or practices regarding tour permits. When I first learned about this procedure in a different council we filed them for everything, including camporees. Our council here is now trying to discourage tour permits for one day events. I don't have G2SS in front of me, but here is my take on this.

 

When permits are required:

 

Overnight camping, water based activities, any activity requiring special training and/or safety procedures, activities where the unit is organizing and providing transportation to and from the event.

 

Local day hikes or bike rides from local trail heads are questionable. I would prefer to have a permit in my possession, but if my council is going to stop issuing permits for these kinds of events, I guess I won't have one.

 

When permits are clearly not required:

 

Routine troop meetings, local service projects, courts of honor, patrol planned and executed activities where no adult is present or required to be present, council sponsored events.

 

Anybody is free to agree or disagree. I would be interested in hearing more of other people's experiences with this.

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"Patrol planned and executed activities where no adult is present or required to be present"

Would these scouts be covered by the BSA medical and liability insurance?

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As far as I know, the answer would be yes. However, you should check with your council office. They should be able and willing to tell you what is covered and what is not.

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You may want to ask to see a copy of the actual insurance policy. I'd be interested in hearing their response.

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You are always covered by BSA insurance if your doing a scouting activity. If you don't file a tour permit, you are still covered by BSA insurance

 

This was discussed in depth on scouts-L some time ago.

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This issue of what the BSA insurance covers and when its covered seems to be part urban legend. Is there a lawyer in the house?

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Read any liability insurance policy. Lots of things are specifically excluded. Our community center has a liability policy that protects us when we have activities there. Some things are excluded: anything involving the consumption of alcohol, "acts of God", damages from a war, skydiving, motorized speed events such as auto racing,. The same is true with BSA liability insurance. The underwriters look at the risks and specifically exclude activities they see as too risky.

 

Fortunately for us unit leaders, we don't need to read the fine print in the policy. BSA has already done that for us. Exclusions in the policy can be found in the Guide to Safe Scouting. If a unit engages in a prohibited activity, they may find there is no insurance coverage.

 

One of the reasons BSA requires a tour permit is so they can review the unit's plan to see if the unit is planning a prohibited activity. A Cub Scout den that want to take their Wolf den bungie jumping off the Golden Gate bridge may be advised to plan something else.

 

There may well be instances where BSA polices are not followed to the letter. Insurance coverage is not necessarily void if mistakes are made, or rules not followed. The lack of a tour permit does not in and of itself necessarily void the coverage. But there will be reluctance from BSA to defend the practices of rogue units that defy BSA rules.

 

Insurance underwriters evaluate risk partly on how good a job the insured does at policing itself. If they see BSA being lax about enforcing BSA safety guidelines, that laxness will absolutely translate into higher insurance premiums.

 

There is some urban legend about BSA insurance. One myth is that insurance is void unless you are wearing the uniform. The tour permit story is partly true. If a unit fails to file a tour permit, and engages in a prohibited activity, there will be no coverage. But denied because of the activity, not the failure to file the permit.

 

BSA insurance is not medical insurance or accident insurance. It is liability insurance that protects leaders from a lawsuit. Unit accident insurance is available at the unit level, at the option of the unit. It covers medical bills resulting from an accident that may occur during a unit activity. Some councils may provide this at no cost to the unit. Our council leaves it up to each unit. The cost is about $1 per boy, per year.

 

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