Posts Tagged ‘sexual molestation’

Sexual Abuse/Molestation Insurance for Sports Organizations

The risks organizations face and the preconditions for coverage

Child Abuse in Youth SportsSexual abuse and molestation is, unfortunately, a major topic of conversation within youth sports insurance in the past decade.  The sports insurance carriers that write General Liability have been decimated with a number of large settlements and adverse jury verdicts.

As a result, most carriers are not willing to extend coverage for abuse/molestation unless risk management controls are in place.  In other cases, the coverage is only available by tapping into custom programs for larger governing and sanctioning bodies that have significant negotiating power.

Coverage for abuse/molestation is important because all directors and officers will be sued along with the alleged abuser.  The directors and officers will be sued for failure to screen out staff with criminal backgrounds, failure to respond to an allegation, and failure to implement policies and procedures such as the use of a “buddy system” and prohibition of overnight sleepovers.

As a precondition of coverage, many insurance carriers will require mandatory background checks on all staff with access to youth, as well as the adoption of a risk management awareness program.

We have more detailed information on the various types of background checks and the strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as a free and simplified Abuse/Molestation Protection Program on our risk management page.

Registered Sex Offenders and Youth Athletes

What if the sex offender is a parent or spectator?

Most national organizations require criminal background checks of coaches and in order to screen for sex offenders. Throughout our risk management materials you will find that even if it’s not requirement, these screenings are highly recommended.   But what should a league do when the registered sex offender is a parent or a spectator?

The first step would be to consult your local attorney since they would be familiar with the particular states laws.   Also, make sure that the organization is following its own policies and bylaws. The general liability policies that we write for national organizations may require that volunteers be screened, but not parents who aren’t volunteers.  This is because, as a general rule, only a volunteer who has repeated access to youth is in a position to groom them for molestation.

Whether background checks are required or not, a lot can be accomplished by educating the team/league, volunteers and parents on inappropriate boundary invasions.  More information can be found in our article Protecting Children Against Sexual Abuse and Molestation.

Sports Insurance for Sexual Abuse and Molestation

Check if you’re covered under General Liability

Insurance carriers that write General Liability insurance for sports and recreation organizations take two approaches to covering lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and molestation.  Some carriers’ policy forms remain silent on the issue under the theory that it is covered if it is not excluded.  This is usually true, but some state case law may reach a contrary conclusion.  However, most policy forms provide an affirmative grant of coverage for sexual abuse and molestation through a special endorsement.

For example, many carriers provide an endorsement that provides sex abuse and molestation coverage in the amount of $1 million Each Occurrence and $1 million Aggregate.  Furthermore, the endorsement will usually include a laundry list of exclusions. An example of an exclusions would the perpetrator for remaining passive after an incident has come to the attention of management, etc.

Some policy forms may void sexual abuse and molestation coverage if the sports organization has not implemented a written procedure requiring a background check on all staff with access to youth. program or separately to each individual named insured, such as a league or club.  It’s obviously best if the Aggregate applies separately to each league or club.