The Gold Standard
The 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 and 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 both educating the public and our competitors. We bring a problem area to the attention of our clients and offer a custom solution Then, within the next year or two, our competitors adopt it and act like it was their idea all along.
But competitors who merely attempt to copy the industry leader are not innovators and will always lag behind.
As for inadequate limits, many organizations no longer feel comfortable with an Each Occurrence Limit of only $1 million. After all, youth tackle football and cheer is more risky compared to some other popular sports. Therefore, an Each Occurrence limit of $2 million or $5 million should be strongly considered. The Each Occurrence limit applies to the amount that is available to respond to any single lawsuit.
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 million and a General Aggregate limit of $2 million. A General Aggregate limit of at least $5 million 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 to that of 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 and molestation
- warranty of waiver/release, warranty of concussion training
- punitive damages
- assault and battery
- athletic participant
We provide a checklist that can be used to analyze a competitor’s program against the AYF/AYC endorsed program, which is especially instructive in terms of revealing unacceptable exclusions. Sadler Sports Insurance would be glad to assist in the comparison process if you can provide 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 of competitor claims 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. Whenever a claim or offer sounds 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:
- The coverage is not comparable in terms of policies offered (Accident policy not included in price), policy limits are too low, or it includes unacceptable exclusions from coverage.
- The initial quote provided ends up being much lower than the final proposal because it was based on a 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 the endorsed AYF/AYC insurance program
Only the endorsed AYF/AYC program offers an 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 not having a certificate of insurance is keeping you off the practice field.
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 no 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.
We offer free best-in-industry risk management content including articles, forms, risk management program templates, and training videos on general safety and sex abuse/molestation protection in the risk management section of our website.
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.