Is it worth the Risk?

How do you feel about the prospect of sitting in a rubber raft, steering frantically along a raging river using only a simple paddle and brute force to stay in control? Or leaping from a great height secured only by a large elastic cord?

Some of you will be thinking “Absolutely no way, that’s not for me” whilst others, the thrill seekers amongst you, will be saying “Wow, yes let’s do it!”, eagerly anticipating the rush of adrenaline and heart thumping that make you feel truly alive.

Whilst adventure sports may not be everyone’s cup of tea, nowadays they are no longer uncommon. The reality is that most of us sit somewhere in between the 2 risk extremes – from being totally risk hungry to being totally risk averse – and more and more of us are now indulging in adventure sports, especially as by definition they include the likes of scuba diving and para gliding which many of us have taken part in whilst on our summer holidays.

But, and this is the really important message of this blog, wherever you sit on the risk spectrum you need to be aware of how your health insurer views adventure sports or, as most insurers refer to them, hazardous sports or pursuits. Insurer views differ so it is essential that you confirm your insurers’ stance otherwise you could find yourself not being covered if, despite all the safety protocols, your hazardous activity leads to an accident or injury requiring treatment.

You also need to bear in mind what constitutes a hazardous activity. The list can be quite long and includes some surprising activities. Most of us appreciate the inherent dangers involved in cliff diving or base jumping but would you have considered all the sports listed in this insurers’ exclusion as hazardous:

We do not cover Treatment of injuries sustained from base jumping, cliff diving, motor sports, flying in an unlicensed aircraft or as a learner, martial arts, free climbing, mountaineering with or without ropes, scuba diving to a depth of more than 30 metres, trekking to a height of over 4,000 metres, bungee jumping, canyoning, hang-gliding, paragliding or microlighting, parachuting, potholing, skiing off piste or any other winter sports activity carried out off piste.

Not all insurers are as restrictive as this one. At the other end of the spectrum, for example, are the health policies that we at J W Seagon have developed – JWS Worldwide Health Plan, JWS Safari Health Plan and Africa Wellness Solutions – none of which have exclusions for hazardous activities.

As we work with many different insurance companies, we have reviewed and compared the policy conditions as they relate to hazardous activities and there are some big differences.

For example, some insurers exclude mountaineering all together, whilst others exclude it above a certain height. Quite precise limitations also apply to cover for scuba diving according to the dive depth and PADI qualifications held.

The clear message is, if you are going to take part in a hazardous activity you must check that you are covered by your medical insurance; don’t assume you are. Call or email us today to better understand your own exclusions.

Please get in touch with your Client Relationship Manager, or alternatively email us at or call us on + 254 (0) 709 455 000.