Posts Tagged ‘youth sports insurance’

Insurance for Youth Sports Leagues

The purchase of quality sports insurance policies, including Excess Accident, General Liability, Directors & Officers Liability, Crime, and Equipment,  is an essential element of a broader based risk management program. The purchase of these policies has become the standard in youth sports. Failure to do so subjects the entity and its directors, officers, employees, volunteers, and other stakeholders to uncovered liability and property losses. By purchasing quality insurance, the board of directors fulfills its fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the organization and those who serve the organization, as well as the members who are benefited.

Quality sports insurance policies are now widely available in the marketplace from many different sources. They may be obtained through the sanctioning body or association to which a league belongs, if any, or from an independent source. Policies are available through local insurance agents or insurance agencies that specialize in sports insurance that operate on a national basis. However, there can be a wide discrepancy in the quality of coverages and some programs and carriers may offer substandard limits or unacceptable exclusions that can result in unexpected claim denial.

When comparing competing insurance plans, most decision makers tend to concentrate on price as the major differentiating factor. However, the quality of coverage is much more important. It is often difficult for decision makers to compare the coverages of one policy to another to determine which one offers the broadest protection. Insurance agent marketing materials, such as proposals, brochures and web page descriptions, often don’t include complete information about all policy coverages and exclusions. The only way to really know what is offered is to enlist the assistance of an experienced business insurance professional to review the actual policy forms. However, most leagues won’t go to that trouble. As an alternative, we offer a coverage checklist that can be presented to an insurance agent for completion and signature. This checklist will require the insurance agent to disclose how the policy deals with critical coverage elements and whether it doesVolleyball insurance or doesn’t meet recommended minimum standards for quality sports insurance.

Below is a brief summary of the most essential sports insurance policies with a brief overview of important coverage considerations.

Excess Accident: Pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants (players and staff) to the extent that such bills are not already covered by existing family health insurance, if any. This policy is usually required by General Liability carriers as a pre-condition of General Liability coverage. An Excess Accident policy should have a medical limit of at least $25,000, and higher limits should be strongly considered.

General Liability: Responds to certain claims or lawsuits alleging that the negligence of the sports organization resulted in bodily injury, property damage, personal injury (i.e. slander, libel, invasion of privacy) or advertising injury (disparaging statement made about a competitor in advertising materials) to a third party. The typical claim is bodily injury to a spectator or athletic participant. The “each occurrence” limit should be at least $1,000,000 and coverage enhancements should be considered for sex abuse and molestation and non-owned and hired auto liability. Dangerous exclusions to avoid include athletic participants’ exclusion, punitive damages exclusion, assault & battery exclusion, contractual liability limitation, and collapse of a temporary structure.

Directors & Officers Liability: Responds to certain lawsuits that are not covered by a General Liability policy involving managerial negligence or employment practices Basketball Insuranceviolations. Examples include financial mismanagement; violation of rights under state, federal, or constitutional law; failure to follow own rules or bylaws when making a decision; wrongful suspension, termination, or discipline of staff or players; and discrimination based on race, sex, age or disability. The “each claim” limit should be at least $1,000,000. An important coverage extension to consider is Cyber Risk coverage to protect against losses resulting from data breaches of confidential information by hackers and for libelous statements posted on websites or social media.

Crime: Employee Dishonesty covers a financial loss due to embezzlement, theft of property, or unauthorized personal charges by an inside officer, director, or staff member. Coverage extensions should be added for forgery and alteration, as well as theft of money & securities. Sports organizations should implement financial controls to make such occurrences less likely to occur. The policy should be endorsed to extend Employee Dishonesty coverage to non-compensated officers and volunteers.

Equipment: Covers a financial loss from damage to sports organization equipment (i.e. sports equipment, field maintenance equipment, concession equipment, etc.) and small structures, such as bleachers, fences, and scoreboards from perils such as fire, wind, theft and vandalism. Coverage should be purchased on a replacement cost basis with equipment valued at 100% of replacement cost to avoid any co-insurance penalties in the event of a partial loss.

Other Policies: Larger sports organizations with more complex operations may require the following additional policies: Workers’ Compensation to meet requirements of state law pertaining to injured workers, Commercial Property to cover permanent structures such as larger buildings and their contents, and Commercial Auto to cover owned vehicles.

For more information on why each insurance policy is important and pitfalls to avoid, see the special report entitled “7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance”.

Medical Emergencies in Youth Sports

CPR and first aid training for coaches is critical

Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance has always been a strong advocate of youth sports coaches and volunteers receiving first aid and emergency training. Injuries and medical emergencies can occur anywhere, at anytime to anyone, especially in a sporting environment. Coaches and other adults in attendance during practices and play have to be able to respond in such cases. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of youth coaches have any safety training, according to a 2012 SafeKids Worldwide survey.

There’s really no excuse for such lack of training because certification classes in first aid and CPR are offered in every community for free or very little cost. It’s the responsibility of the sports organization and local community to ensure that coaches and volunteers have access to the training needed to respond appropriately to an injury or life-threatening event.

Empowering your volunteers

In particular, the education of volunteers in safety procedures strengthens the sports program. Volunteers offer their time and energy in so many capacities. They should be given the tools they need to be an even greater help, which means safety training or recertification at no cost to them. And it’s important to remember that coaches and volunteers serve as safety role models for the youth with whom they’re working. Older athletes should be encouraged to register for CPR and first aid certification courses, as well.

No matter what sport you’re involved with, the unexpected can occur. Here are a few examples of emergency situations where immediate administration of first-aid made all the difference to the injured person.

  • An Alabama high school football player collapsed during the first practice of the season. Coaches and the athletic trainer sprang into action, quickly determining a case of cardiac arrest after seeing no signs of concussion, heat stroke or dehydration. The trainer used the school’s AED while waiting for EMTs to arrive on the scene. The teen survived, thanks to the safety training his coaches had received.
  • An Oregon varsity high school basketball game was unexpectedly interrupted when an official collapsed on the court. Quick thinking staff, students and medical professionals in the stands rushed to his aid, administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
  • An 8-year-old youth baseball player collapsed after being hit in the chest by a batted ball. It was his good fortune that two off-duty paramedics who were in the stands were able to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.

You can’t count on there being someone nearby who will know what to do in a medical emergency. Whether the injured person is one of the athletes, a trainer, an official or a fan in the stands, the coaches are who people will look to for help in an emergency.

Getting the necessary training

The American Red Cross offers CPR/AED training as well as specific first aid, health and safety training for sports coaches. Because CPR techniques and use of AEDs on children and adults differ, it’s important that coaches receive training for medical assistance for both age groups

The National Alliance for Youth Sports encourages all volunteer coaches get CPR training. Their website offers member coaches access to a first aid and CPR section full of safety information, including how to develop an emergency action plan. NAYS also offers free concussion training for coaches and volunteers.

Navigating the Sports Insurance Market

The problem with the traditional insurance bidding process

Many administrators of sports and recreation sanctioning and governing body associations make the common mistake of allowing multiple insurance agents to bid on their insurance program. After all, the more opinions and quotes, the better, right? And doesn’t competition between insurance agents result in the lowest price?

It’s my opinion that these commonly-held beliefs could be counterproductive in the sports and recreation insurance marketplace.

The problem

The sports/recreation insurance marketplace has a limited number of insurance carriers that are capable of providing quality General Liability coverage. It doesn’t make sense to cut loose multiple insurance agents who are in mad rush to be the first to approach the same handful of carriers, bombarding each underwriter with multiple applications. Worse, many of the applications may contain contradictory information, raising raise red flags about the truthfulness of any single application. And the carrier underwriters may believe that too many insurance agents chasing an account is an indication that the account is a price shopper who isn’t interested in a long term relationship.

The likely result is that the application will be moved to the bottom of the stack where it won’t receive priority treatment by the underwriters.

Additionally, the various insurance agents who are quoting may get frustrated when they find that other agents have blocked their markets with prior application submissions. They will usually request a “broker of record” letter from you to alter this outcome. Typically, carriers will only work with the first agent to submit an application. However, if a subsequent agent can convince the sports organization to sign a “broker of record letter,” he or she can then take over the rights to represent the insurance carrier. Carriers who receive a broker of record letter must inform the first submitting agent and offer a period of time to receive a countermanding broker of record letter to offset the effect of the first one. The end result is stressful and time consuming communications bouncing among insurance agents, carriers and the sports organization administrator who is overseeing the bid process.

The solution

The better way to handle the process is to choose the most qualified insurance agent based on a predetermined set of criteria, and allow him or her to obtain proposals from various insurance carriers. This approach offers the best of both worlds: the sports organization will benefit from working with the most qualified insurance agent and still gain access to all the insurance carriers in a setting less likely to cause underwriter mistrust. This process should produce the best combination of insurance and risk management advice and service for the lowest possible cost.

Sports risks create unique exposures to loss that must be anticipated and then addressed by negotiating specialized coverage modifications. It takes many years of experience in the sports niche for any insurance agent to become familiar with these unique exposures to loss and the special coverage modifications. Such experience is acquired after reviewing dozens of actual claims and lawsuits in specific areas and noting the carrier responses to these claims under various coverage forms. A sports organization definitely does not want to hire an insurance agent who lacks this specialized experience.