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.
John Sadler was interviewed and widely quoted in a national insurance trade industry publication, Rough Notes, for their April 2013 issue. In an article entitled “Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics”, Sadler was quoted on a variety of topics as follows:
- The increased risks of travel teams over recreational teams in terms of more intense competition, auto exposure from travel, and motel downtime incidents such as drownings and near drownings.
- Increased prevalence of individual sports instructors looking for General Liability and Professional Liability Coverage.
- Carriers taking the sex abuse & molestation risk more seriously after Sandusky by mandating risk management that goes beyond the passing of a criminal background check. Examples include the adoption of written policies and procedures such as the use of a buddy system where a single adult is never alone with a single unrelated child and an incident response plan that requires notification of law enforcement.
- New carrier fears over concussion exposures and the imposing of Participant Legal Liability policy aggregates for larger associations that will cap total losses in a single policy year.
- The new emerging cyber threats of hacker access to confidential information and media liability arising out of the posting of defamatory content on sports organization websites and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- The need for coach Professional Liability coverage for those crazy lawsuits where coaches are sued for benching an athlete or for improper coaching instruction which allegedly results in loss of college scholarship or pro career.
Source: Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics; Rough Notes, April 2013