Controversy is brewing over race insurance cover for landowners adjoining the course only days before the TT.

Island-based farmers' insurance firm NFU Mutual says ACU got it wrong when some landowners were told they would not be covered by the race promoter's insurance if they allowed spectators on their land.

However, ACU dismissed the allegations and insisted that NFU Mutual got it wrong and was simply hiding that fact.

Juan Turner MLC has demanded that the ACU should apologise to landowners for 'misleading and scaremongering' them into giving signed consent for their land to become prohibited.

Mr. Turner expressed outrage at the record number of banned areas on the course, “It used to be the greatest free show on earth. I want to congratulate the race organisers for making it the best non-spectator sport in the world!”

Earlier this year landowners and tenants of sites deemed too dangerous for the public to watch the races from, received letters urging them to consent to their land being made prohibited. The letters further advised them to contact their own insurers if they refused to do so.

But in a May 13 press release, the ACU stated that racing accidents on land where landowners and tenants had not agreed to a prohibited area would not be covered by the ACU's third party liability insurance.

However, Richard Hulme, agent for NFU Mutual, said he had been ‘bombarded’ by calls from concerned farmers.

He said “The ACU was wrong, if this was the case farmers wouldn't let people on their land, full stop.”

Mr. Hulme said he was aware of a couple of farmers who were unhappy at how they had been treated by ACU officials and felt they were being 'forced' into agreeing to make their land a prohibited area.

He said the only time landowners would need to extend their insurance cover was if they were charging people to watch the races, for parking on their land or selling refreshments for profit.

According to Mr. Hulme, a letter from the ACU to NFU Mutual which suggested that race organiser's insurance would cover all landowners and tenants for third party public liability, regardless of whether it was in a prohibited area or not, was incorrect.

But in a quick rejoinder, Les Dohety, deputy clerk of the TT course and consultant for ACU Events Ltd, said NFU Mutual now agreed with the ACU's position.

Eddie Nelson, clerk of TT course and ACU representative, also clarified that a meeting with ACU's directors and insurers was held on Friday to thrash out the issue.

This morning, a TT spokesman said the position remained that those who had not agreed to their land being prohibited 'might leave yourself open to criminal proceedings'.

On May 13, it was announced that popular TT viewing spots would be banned to spectators for this year’s races.

According to the 2008 TT co-ordinating committee, the lost of prohibited and restricted areas would be marked with newly created, highly visible full colour signs.

The committee further announced that signs denoting prohibited and restricted areas, and signs warning fans that motorsport is dangerous, would appear around the course.

Tourism and Leisure Minister Adrian Earnshaw said, “Regular visitors to the races will find relatively few changes to prohibited and restricted areas compared to last year's TT.

“The course has been re-examined by the ACU to effectively and clearly redefine the areas so that there is no public confusion.”

He added, “The new signage for the prohibited and restricted areas will leave members of the public in no doubt as to whether an area is prohibited or restricted.

“A proactive programme is in place to advise fans of the exact prohibited and restricted areas as defined by the road closure order. Fans must respect the areas and enjoy watching this year's races safely and responsibly.”

Author's Bio: 

Mildred is an author of several articles pertaining to Home Insurance. She is known for her expertise on the subject and on other Business and Finance related articles.