Here in America, we sure do love our pets! So much so that 39% of our households own at least one dog and 75% of those dogs are spayed or neutered. And while we know that most of you are responsible pet owners there is still a growing number of feral dogs roaming our rural lands and urban centers. Many of our sports and recreation clients often find themselves in areas where there is potential for feral dog attacks. With your safety in mind, we have compiled a list of our top tips to help you protect yourself in the event of an attack.
The past decade of economic instability has forced many shelters to turn away pets whose owners can no longer afford to care for them. In Detroit the solution some dog owners have found is to allow their animals to roam the streets as a means of supplementing their diets. The “packing up” of these dogs has proved such a danger to postal carriers that consideration has been given to the refusal of mail service in neighborhoods with proven records of feral dog attacks.
Rural areas have proven to fare no better in the fight against wild dogs. The pack mentality is such that it has allowed these animals to team up and kill livestock to the tune of some 37 million dollars annually. While some farmers have banded together in an attempt to eradicate these feral dog packs, there is no sign of the problem going away.
Thinking about going out for a run? Protect yourself with these tips
- Make eye contact – it is viewed as a challenge.
- Stand directly in front of a feral dog – it is considered the attack position and serves only to increase their aggression. It is better to stand off to one side instead.
- Run – animals are acutely perceptive of our body language; the projection of fear sends the impression that you are weak, i.e. prey.
- Turn your back – always make sure to keep the dog to your side.
Carry repellant and/or a weapon (baseball bat, large stick, knife, etc) when walking – not only will this serve as protection, but it can also be used to distract the animal should an attack occur.
Remain calm and stay in command of the situation – hold your position; waving your arms around and shouting isn’t a guaranteed method of intimidation, in fact it’s an invitation for the dog to bite you if it is feeling threatened.
Find higher ground – whether it’s a tree or a dumpster, get out of their reach.
If you can’t get away or distract the dog with an object and the dog attacks, gouge an eye – a blow to the throat works as well.
Another strategy is to curl up into a ball on your stomach and use your hands to cradle your neck – protect your most vulnerable areas and try to remain still, it may help to end the attack.
Source – How to Survive a Feral Dog Attack
California is home to a bevy of professional sports organizations. Whether you’re watching the Warriors in the NBA playoffs, or cheering on the 49ers as they tackle another divisional title, Californians are proud supporters of their players and teams. But did you know that athletes not based in the state of California are eligible to file workers comp claims should they suffer an injury while participating in a sporting event in the state? Milliman Inc., a Seattle-based actuarial and consulting firm that insurers may be on the hook for more than $1.5 billion in potential Workers Compensation claims filed by out-of-state athletes. Assembly Bill 1309 seeks to amend California labor code in an attempt to off-set these losses, saving California tax payers money.
California “Cumulative Trauma” Workers Comp. Provision for Professional Athletes
In its current iteration, California labor code provides that any injury defined as “cumulative” or occurring as repetitive mental and physical trauma with the combined effect of disability or the need for medical treatment may be covered by the state’s Workers Compensation provision. It does not require that professional athletes covered by the law be employed by a California based organization. Rather, the exposure to injury needs only to occur while in-state for the claimant to receive benefits.
The California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) pays for insolvent insurers and is funded by assessments on California employers. The Milliman report alleges that CIGA has processed 1,700 workers comp claims from players residing out-of-state prompting speculation that guarantee fund assessments paid out by Californian employers will soon be on the rise.
Out-of-State Athlete Abuse
The statute of limitations to file a workers comp claim does not begin until an employee has been informed of their right to file and is valid for one year. Retired players suffering neurological and cognitive disorders as a result of their professional affiliations are the most likely to benefit from this loophole. Milliman Inc. estimates that athletes having played professionally in California within the last 30 years could reach $1.57 billion with $825 million coming from retired players who have not yet filed claims; 78% of these claims are likely to come from out-of-state, or approximately $1.23 billion.
Assembly Bill 1309 would ban professional athletes and their dependents from receiving California Workers Comp benefits if the athlete was hired by an organization outside of the state. This includes minor/major league baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer.
Source: California Looks To Stem Pro Athletes’ Comp Claims; Sheena Harrison; Business Insurance: April 22, 2013
Risky World Of Youth Tackle And Cheer
In the high risk world of youth tackle football, flag, & cheer, risk is everywhere in the form of concussions, spinal injuries, cheer stunts, sex abuse & molestation, lack of supervision, lack of instruction, premises problems, equipment problems, etc. In this world, administrators and staff (volunteer and paid) are putting their personal assets on the chopping block every day should an unfortunate mishap occur and result in a lawsuit. This is especially true if the insurance that was purchased to protect against this risk is inadequate.
Competitors Often Offer Inadequate Coverage To AYF / AYC
What is inadequate insurance? It could be that the limits are not high enough but the more common situation occurs when the coverage within the limits includes unacceptable coverage exclusions or loopholes. And these unacceptable coverage exclusions are much more common than you may think, and can even exist if the program is another national association program. Sadler Sports Insurance has fought the battle against these unacceptable exclusions for many years by educating the public and yes, our competitors. We bring a problem area to the attention of our clients (ex: volunteer vs volunteer exclusion), offer a custom solution, and within the next year or two, our competitors adopt it and act like it was their idea all along. But, competitors that merely attempt to copy the industry leader are not innovators and will always lag behind.
As regards inadequate limits, many organization no longer feel comfortable with an Each Occurrence Limit of only $1,000,000. After all, youth tackle football and cheer is more risky as compared to some other common sports. Therefore, an Each Occurrence limit of $2,000,000 or $5,000,000 should be strongly considered. The Each Occurrence limit applies to the amount that is available to respond to any single lawsuit.
And then, the General Aggregate limit is a whole different issue. The General Aggregate is the amount that is available to respond to multiple lawsuits during the policy year. Many competitors offer a General Liability Each Occurrence Limit of $1,000,000 and a General Aggregate limit of $2,000,000. A General Aggregate limit of at least $5,000,000 may be necessary in the event that multiple lawsuits are filed during the same policy year. One recent concern in this area is the possibility of class action lawsuits by players over brain damage caused by sub concussive impacts (CTE) from helmet to helmet hits. The jury is still very much out on this issue and hopefully such talk is just media hype; however, the possibility does exist. AYF is leading the way with coach training in the area of concussions and the endorsed insurance program is structured in such a way as to offer superior protection as compared to most competing programs.
Examples of common unacceptable exclusions under a General Liability policy include but are not limited to: volunteer vs volunteer; participant vs participant; player vs player; cheer stunts and pyramiding; bleacher collapse; contractual liability limitation; sexual abuse & molestation; warranty of waiver/release, warranty of concussion training; punitive damages; assault & battery; and athletic participant.
We provide a checklist that can be used to analyze a competitors program against the AYF / AYC endorsed program which is especially instructive in terms of revealing unacceptable exclusions (checklist): Sadler Sports Insurance would be glad to assist in the comparison process if you can provide us with a copy of the competitor’s actual policy forms (Accident and General Liability). Unfortunately, you really don’t know much if you are relying on a competitor’s certificate of insurance or proposal as those documents are not required to include information on the policy exclusions.
Beware Claims Of Competitors That Seem Too Good To Be True
A certain amount of self promotion and puffery is expected when advertising any product or service. However, some competitors may claim to have the best and lowest priced insurance product in the market as an attention grabber but that may not be the case after the dust settles. The problem is that it can take a long time and a lot of work on your part before the dust settles. Whenever a claim or offer turns out too good to be true – it always is too good to be true in my experience. The incredible, attractive offer usually does not hold up due to the following reasons:
1) the coverage is not comparable in terms of policies offered (Accident policy not included in price), policy limits too low, or it includes unacceptable exclusions from coverage.
2) The initial quote indication provided ends up being much lower than the final proposal because the initial quote was based on suppressed number of teams or participants. In the meantime, you have wasted hours of time in providing information just to get the final proposal.
Other Advantages Of Endorsed AYF / AYC Insurance Program
Only the endorsed AYF / AYC program offers instant online proposal, payment, binding of coverage, and issuance of proof of coverage documents and certificates of insurance for field owners in real time. This entire process can take days or weeks with our competitors and can be very frustrating when you can’t get on the practice field due to lack of a certificate of insurance.
All of the Accident claims data from the endorsed program is compiled in a special software program that crunches the numbers in a way to produce meaningful information about how injuries can be prevented and how the game can be modified, if necessary, to promote safety. This data has already been used to illustrate that age only divisions in youth tackle football are not more risky than age/weight divisions. When you participate in the endorsed program, your loss data is used in a meaningful way to improve the safety of the game.
Best in industry risk management content including articles, forms, risk management program templates, and training videos on general safety and sex abuse / molestation protection. Visit the risk management section of our website at www.sadlersports.com/riskmanagement.
In summary, the AYF / AYC endorsed insurance program is the industry leader and offers the best protection now and in the future for the players, volunteers, administrators, and youth football industry. For more information, visit www.sadlersports.com/ayf.
Frances Sadler recently scored three goals and assisted in another for Hammond School Varsity Girls Soccer against Wilson High School. Frances is in the 10th grade and plays forward.
See full article for details.
Source: The Columbia Star, April 19, 2013
The Boston Marathon attack has sent shockwaves through the sports event insurance industry creating a lot of uncertainty about whether certain event coverages will be offered and at what limits. At a minimum, terrorism premiums for high risk events are expected to skyrocket.
Underwriters responded after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack with enhanced risk management for arenas and stadiums. However, closed venues are much easier to secure as opposed to an open event such as a marathon that has a 26.2 mile course.
Also, as a result of Sept. 11, 2001, private insurance carriers started to exclude terrorism coverage under General Liability policies, which was picked up by the federal government for a buyback of less than 5% of private insurance premiums in most cases. After 9-11, the terrorism coverage buyback was typically only purchased by larger event promoters in major population centers. However, as a result of the Boston attack, it is speculated that the terrorism buyback will become much more expensive and many smaller event promoters outside of the major population centers will be interested in its purchase.
The next question is what type of liability that event promoters and organizers have in the first place to prevent terrorist attacks? At first glance, event security against terrorist attacks would primarily be a matter for law enforcement. However, event promoters and organizers can have liability for not implementing risk management controls and coordinating with law enforcement. The industry will undoubtedly respond with enhanced risk management requirements based on the lessons learned from the Boston attack.
Source: Boston Attack Leads Sports-Event Insurers To Reassess Business; Aaron Kuriloff and Mason Levinson, April 17, 2013
Dr. Mitchell Berger of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee was interviewed by ESPN’s Between The Lines and spoke out against Boston University researchers Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski accusing them of self interest by trying to profit from the hype they created with studies linking the connection between football and brain damage.
According to Berger: “The BU Group, their whole existence — their funding — relies on perpetuating that it’s a fact if you play football you’re going to have some form of cognitive impairment….So it’s very, very difficult to accept it because it is so biased.”
Dr. Cantu aptly responded, “Mitch Berger, with all due respect, is full of s—. No, not with respect.”
Should be interesting as the trial progresses to get a more balanced perspective on the issue because so far the media has only covered the plaintiff’s allegations.
Source: ESPN, Between The Lines, Researchers Consulted With Law Firms