For the first time in five years, British Eventing is increasing its membership fees.

The BE membership price has remained flat since 2014, however, to keep pace with rising costs, an increase will come into effect for 2020. There will also be an increase on Entry Fees, Start Fees and Abandonment insurance.

From 1 January 2020 there will be a £5 increase on Full, Owner, Syndicate and Corporate membership types, which have been kept under the rate of inflation for the same period since membership was held in 2014.

Entry fees and the upper limit of start fees will increase by 1.98% and Abandonment Insurance will also be increasing as a result of high levels of claims and a reduced number of underwriters willing to insure against the weather.

Prize money will be increasing by 1.98% and there is no change to Day Pass and Supporter membership, Rider and Horse Day Passes or Horse Season Tickets and there will no longer be a £15 fee on new horse registrations.

Jude Matthews, BE CEO, commented; “In conjunction with the British Event Organisers Association (BEOA), BE had previously agreed a formula for the calculation of any increase in entry fees, which was designed to reflect the increasing costs an organiser incurs year on year. BE had asked the BEOA to consider a freeze on the entry fees for 2020, however the BEOA felt that it was not possible to maintain the high standards of event which BE requires and support a freeze in entry fees.

“We are committed to providing the membership with top quality, safe, and fun competition opportunities, however, we know that members find the costs of competing high, and we are committed to looking at ways that this can be managed. We will continue to work with our organisers to ensure that we provide great sporting opportunity for members, whilst maintaining viability for organisers to run.

“When looking at the abandonment insurance, in ten years since abandonment insurance was introduced, the amount of claims made under the insurance has totalled £5.4M (with a further £633K so far in 2019).

“We get asked by members about making abandonment insurance optional, however if it was not compulsory for all, the premiums would increase, on the basis that only those events with a higher risk of abandoning would insure. It would also become increasingly difficult to find an underwriter prepared to accept the risk of higher levels of abandonment.

“The BE team work hard to manage the insurance premiums, including monitoring levels of abandonment at each event, and structuring the calendar such that the events in the earlier and latter part of the year are more weather tolerant. There is a strict process in place when events abandon, which helps to reassure our insurers and therefore manage the premiums levels.”

Matthews continues; “The membership fees to join BE have been static since 2014, which has meant an effective reduction in income in real terms for BE every year since then. Inflation for the period 2014 to 2019 is around 11.8%.

“We know that it is likely that some of the membership will believe that this increase has been implemented to fund the IT project, however, this is not the case. The IT project has been funded from reserves, but rising costs in all areas have affected the overall budget of head office. Whilst no increase in membership fee is welcome, we have worked hard to keep the increase in cost to an absolute minimum. The increase is less than £1 per year since the last increase was implemented.

“We are currently undergoing an exercise to look at revamping our membership offerings for 2021 – it will be focussed on offering a range of memberships that are more targeted on each of our membership groups, and we will be working with our stakeholders on this exercise over the coming months.”

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