Insurance Refusals & Premiums Are Affecting Adventure Tourism Operators

Customers are drawn to the thrills of an adventure tour or activity – but these thrills can naturally come with risks too. Public liability insurance can help protect the operator against these risks, but what happens if the operator can’t access cover?

According to news articles from ABC News and Insurance Business Australia, several tour operators in Australia have had to shut their successful businesses down because they can’t find a provider willing to cover them for public liability. 

Why are insurance refusals becoming an issue for some operators?

There are reports this could be a worldwide phenomenon as the global insurance market becomes more risk-averse and cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Fewer insurance underwriters and stricter conditions means that there’s now a sharper focus on the risk management and maintenance of adventure tour operators. Sadly, this could leave some operators unable to stay in business. 

Adventure travel liability can obviously be a complex issue in such a diverse industry. The risks of skydiving will be different to those of camping, or sailing. Legislation changes can affect specific activity types too. Australia’s mandatory roll bar protection on new quad bikes, for example, could perhaps see future changes for quad bike tour operators. 

What can be done?

There may be specialist overseas brokers who can help Australian operators and others to find an insurance provider, so if you find yourself in this boat you might consider looking further for cover.

But many tourism operators are also starting to call for a similar solution to that of New Zealand, which has a universal no-fault public indemnity insurance system. The Accident Compensation Corporation is paid for through public levies and underwritten by the New Zealand Government. All of the victims of the Whakaari/White Island volcano in 2019 are eligible for ACC funds, for example. 

What can adventure tourism operators do now to address the issue?

Perhaps a systemic change like New Zealand’s could help to support adventure tourism operators around the world. 

In the meantime, the tourism industry can work together and proactively to develop the reputation for safety and thorough risk management. Every business should have crisis management plans, risk management policies and robust staff training in place to demonstrate their commitment to health and safety practices.

Of course, limiting liability is an essential part of this

And we really do understand how important it is to have your liability and activity waivers completed accurately and consistently. 

Wherewolf’s waiver software is designed to make this process simple. You can choose to:

  • Send guests a direct link to your liability waiver via email or SMS
  • Have them scan a QR code that guides them through your waiver like an app on their phone, or
  • Completely integrate and automate your booking and waiver processes.

If you’re curious about how much time and money you could save with an online waiver software, then check out our quick ROI calculator

And to support your industry in this uncertain time, we’ve made Wherewolf Lite entirely free for up to 400 waivers a month. 

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