Archive for the ‘Accident Insurance’ Category

Travel Ball: Pros, Cons, Injuries and Insurance

 

 

Travel ball rebounds from COVID

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth sports market in the United States was a $19 billion industry, according to a study by WinterGreen Research. Youth travel sports have rebounded from the impact of the pandemic. They now account for a significant segment of the market.

Youth sports travel teams are composed of athletes who play at an elite level in sports that include soccer, softball, baseball and lacrosse, among others. Teams travel long distances for games, tournaments and showcase events.

Along with offering a valuable learning and social experience for young athletes, travel sports provide a higher level of competition than participants might find locally. Children involved in youth travel sports also have more frequent opportunities to compete.

Parents of young athletes should consider the pros and cons of travel sports. Participation involves a significant investment of time, energy and money.

Pros

  • Travel sports events offer social benefits for athletes and their families
  • Opportunity to learn skills and understanding of the sport beyond what school and local recreation leagues provide
  • Increase in athlete’s self-esteem and confidence level, socially and athletically
  • Camaraderie with fellow travel sports participants and bonding time with family

Cons

  • Expense of participation including registration fees, lodging, meals, equipment, camps, private coaching
  • Performance pressure and anxiety – being part of an elite team brings higher expectations for the athlete 
  • Increased risk of injury – concussions, repetitive motion/overuse injuries, torn ligaments, heatstroke and broken bones, as well as accidents while traveling to and from events

Travel ball and injuries

According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million injuries requiring medical treatment occur annually in youth sports.  Because participation in youth travel sports can increase the likelihood of overuse injuries, it is important to stay focused on prevention. 

At Sadler Sports Insurance, we track the injuries for many of our sports programs. As a general rule, our injury report statistics indicate a higher number of injuries during games versus practice and a higher incidence of injuries as age and skill levels increase.

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) have partnered to help prevent youth sports injuries by creating the STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries program. Learn more about sports specific injuries here. 

Personal experience with travel soccer

As a parent with two daughters who played travel soccer for SC United FC, it was a very positive experience. I found that the organization was well managed and hired excellent coaches with the safety and well being of my daughters at heart. The association had excellent contractual transfer protection through waiver/release, concussion risk management, and child abuse risk management.

Both my wife and I as well as my daughters were able to form lifelong bonds with the other participants. Now that my youngest daughter has aged out and gone to college, I find myself missing the travel soccer experience.

Travel ball insurance

As experts in youth sports association insurance, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance recognizes the risks travel sports organizations face. We provide many different insurance programs for travel ball in almost all sports with our instant online quote / pay / print and best in industry risk management resources to prevent the injury or lawsuits from ever becoming an insurance claim.

Almost all travel teams need the following insurance policies to protect the organization, directors, officers, coaches, volunteers, and athletic participants:

Accident

General Liability

Directors & Officers Liability

Crime

Equipment

 

 

Horror Stories About What Can Go Wrong

Serious lawsuits and injuries can happen in your sports organization.

Spectator InjuriesAsk yourself: Are you fully protected?


Our sports insurance clients file a large number of small to medium sized claims. But, we often hear “horror stories” about serious lawsuits and injuries. Besides being an insurance advisor, I am also an attorney and I know how these “horror stories” can turn into fear and worry. Will you be sued? How will you pay the medical bills?

I wanted to share these cases with you so that you will have a better understanding of some of the risks that you may face in the running of a sports organization. Below are descriptions of actual cases from our clients, including insurance carrier payment amounts.

General Liability Lawsuits

    • Youth camper near drowning incident in swimming pool resulting in brain injury. TX $3,387,832
    • Assistant coach was struck in the face by a pitched baseball while warming up the pitcher. FL $1,001,857
    • Youth football player died from heat stroke. GA $1,000,000
    • Alleged defamation against a league vendor. VA $388,417
    • Bleacher collapse with multiple injuries. LA $362,825
    • Child’s arm caught under tire after falling off parade float. NC $345,050
    • Spectator was struck in the jaw by an overthrown ball while standing in the spectator area. Player who threw the ball was warming up outside of the playing field. LA $326,212
    • Coach accused of inappropriate conduct with minor. AL $321,000
    • Player drowned in a lake while on a team picnic outing. SC $319,403
    • Batted ball travelled through netting in L Screen hitting coach. LA $198,823
    • Spectator hit in head by line drive while standing in line. SC $196,614
    • Sponsor signage blocked view resulting in auto fatality. FL $119,867
    • Concession stand worker injured back. CT $174,794
    • Youth football player tackled by opposing player. MD $141,658
    • Player ran out of bounds and stepped in hole fracturing elbow. CA $89,996
    • Parent sued for defamation. CA $84,610
    • Children swinging on gate knock another child down. TX $82,572
    • Child sustained injuries after his arm went through a glass window. FL $77,200
    • Player driven into 1st down marker, fracturing arm. CT $75,000
    • Spectator behind batting cage hit in head by ball. FL $75,000
    • Roughhousing during team outing resulting in fractured elbow. NY $65,855
    • Parent fell in hole while walking between fields. FL $65,000
    • Spectator suffered dislocated elbow after being struck when strong winds blew a tent over. NJ $62,346
    • Spectator fractured both ankles after stepping in a washed out grassy area.  TN $41,781
    • Baseball player was hit in mouth by bat of another player while in on-deck circle. FL $41,908
    • Spectator suffered leg laceration from metal bolt protruding from bleachers. RI $40,000
    • Spectator was hit in the head by a thrown ball during warm-ups resulting in head fracture and blood clot. MS $31,300
    • Coach was struck by baseball by one of the players from another team while coach was leaving the field. LA $13,898
    • Player injured while playing in creek. TN $20,000
    • Spectator fell off the grandstand and suffered head injury. SC $4,487
    • Youth football player was scolded by coach, humiliated, and forced to quit the team. CA $19,626
    • Infant was struck in head by foul ball. FL $5,000
    • Coach was observing tryouts from bleachers and caught foot and fell tearing ACL. NJ $12,906
    • While sliding into third base, claimant suffered laceration to lower leg. OH $15,829
    • Scorekeeper hit in head by foul ball resulting in concussion. MS $6,249
    • Spectator hit in face by baseball bat that flew out of batter’s hand. SC $5,078
    • Person injured when pinned between scoreboard table and golf cart. MS $50,000
    • Driver’s vision obscured by signage, kills passerby when making turn. FL $119,867
    • Children injured in bleacher collapse. LA $81,000
    • Children climbing on statue at awards banquet damage water fountain. IL $4,789
    • Spectator amputates finger while playing on swinging gate. IL $41,739
    • Parent lacerated head after tripping on uneven walkway to field. PA $25,514
    • Football equipment fell on minor. MI $271,464
    • Child fell through bleachers. CA $136,670
    • Spectators tripped and fell walking to restroom. CT $135,000
    • Trip and fall injury to participant. IL 134,956

Directors & Officers Liability Lawsuits

  • Alleged race discrimination for not allowing a team to join a football league resulted in no judgment or settlement being paid but in legal fees. WV $24,715
  • Alleged race discrimination for not allowing a team to join a baseball league resulted in no judgment or settlement being paid but in legal fees. MS $28,912

Volunteer Thefts – Crime Policy

  • President of baseball league took money from league funds and did not repay. FL $3,230
  • Director in charge of special projects took funds from BBQ and candy sales. TX $5,861

Equipment Losses – Equipment Policy

  • Baseball insuranceWater damage to uniforms and equipment. MI $57,547
  • Fire damaged equipment and baseball items. NY $62,380
  • Theft of bleachers, coffee machine, concession stand damaged. MO $11,790
  • Theft of football equipment. CA $28,918
  • Storage trailer broken into and uniforms stolen. PA $37,688

Injuries – Accident Policy

  • Running back fractured femur. CT $58,241
  • Defensive back fractured shoulder during practice. $55,750
  • Player injured in charter bus accident. TN $46,150
  • Running back tackled resulting in knee injury. TN $31,997
  • Cheerleader fell and fractured forearm. FL $25,333
  • Player fractured leg sliding into 3rd base.  $15,866
  • Softball player fractured leg sliding into home base. MS $69,398
  • Player in dugout hit in head by foul ball. FL $81,320
  • Player’s face injured during practice when no helmets were worn. FL $99,263
  • Assistant coach struck in face by pitched baseball while warming up pitcher. FL $104,000
  • Base runner suffered tendon/ligament damage to knee as a result of contact with home plate while sliding. TX $16,953
  • Infielder suffered fractured nose as a result of being struck by a thrown ball. LA $13,266
  • Pitcher suffered a fractured elbow as a result of being hit by a batted ball. NC $10,497
  • Base runner suffered a knee injury as a result of sliding foot first into a fixed base. TX $9,495
  • Youth football player was tackled and femur fractured when player fell on him. OH $18,218
  • Youth basketball player injured knee. TX $17,159
  • Adult soccer player suffered detached retina. CA $19,522
  • Adult soccer player suffered ACL tear. NV $18,872
  • Player breaks arm in fight during football game. OK $63,567

You should be concerned. But, there is a solution.

The insurance programs offered by Sadler & Company provide superior protection at the lowest possible cost. Click on the “Get a Quote” button on the navigation bar at the top of this page for an instant online quote.

 

2022 Insurance Program Released for American Youth Football

AYFThe gold standard that is the envy of the competition

The American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports Insurance, released the new 2022 insurance program for teams /associations /conferences on May 6, 2022. Online enrollment will be available on May 6, 2022.

The 2022 program is, once again, the gold standard in youth football and cheer insurance with an unbeatable combination of low rates, broad custom coverages, and best-in-industry automation that allows instant online enrollment and issuance of proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. But that’s not all: the program also provides best-in-industry risk management resources to prevent injuries before they become claims and groundbreaking studies on safety in youth football and cheer. In addition, 97% of our clients grade our customer service as “A”.  That’s important because at some point during the policy year, clients will have coverage questions, need to add additional teams, need assistance with risk management resources, or will need to issue a certificate with special wording.

Apply, pay, and print proof of coverage documents and certificates in as little as 10 minutes

Our advanced automation is so simple and fast that you can complete the entire insurance purchase transaction and print all your documents in as little as 10 minutes. Many competitors require the completion of forms and days of waiting just to get a quote. Then, once the quote is bound, it can take several days to get the proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. Or, they could charge $100 extra for next day rush delivery.

We have a new feature that allows the prior years certificate holder list to be pre populated so that information does not need to be input again.

After the purchase, we provide our clients access to our website so that they can self-issue certificates for new field owners 24/7. It’s so easy and our clients love this benefit.

Get Quote Now

Competitors withdraw from market or take major rate increases

Many of our competitors have taken major increases over the past several years due to sexual abuse/molestation and concussion litigation as well as other losses. However, our program remains stable.

Child Abuse Risk Management Plan Required By Federal Law and Insurance Carrier

The federal Safe Sport Act applies to all sports organizations either directly or indirectly and requires mandatory reporting of a “suspicion” to law enforcement within 24 hours; written policies to make an incident less likely to occur; and mandatory education for both adult staff and minors on the different types or child abuse, how to prevent the sexual grooming process and how to report a suspicion.  Sadler provides a free child abuse risk management plan for your adoption that is Safe Sport Act compliant called Safe Sport Child Abuse And Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan.  

Furthermore, the $1M per occurrence Sex Abuse/Molestation coverage under the general liability policy will be voided unless organizations have implemented a system to run criminal background checks, have written policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur, and have a written requirement to notify law enforcement in the event of suspicion. Our free Safe Sport compliant risk management plan will satisfy written requirements. See our insurance plan description for additional information.

What is being done to combat the risk of concussion/brain injury and related litigation?

Sadler Sports Insurance provides a sample Football/Cheer Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program that is strongly recommended for all teams/associations/conferences. This free program can be found under the risk management section of our AYF Insurance page. This program consolidates accepted risk management practices for easy board adoption and implementation. We recommend coaches complete the AYF coaching education program. Certification is required of head football and cheer coaches participating in AYF national championships. We also encourage coaches, volunteers and players to view our Seahawks’ tackle resources page which demonstrates their tackling methods. AYF has provided a certification test to take in conjunction with this video on myafy.com. It is important for all teams/associations/conferences to thicken their shields by adopting and fully implementing a comprehensive concussion/brain injury risk management program. The future of our sports depends on this action and it’s the right thing to do to protect the kids.

Check out our new risk management reports

We developed the following risk management reports to keep our clients up to date in critical areas:

Sample AYF/AYC COVID-19 Guidelines For Return to Activity

Guide To Preventing Heat Stroke Death In Youth Tackle Football This comprehensive awareness training article was produced as a result of a recent heat illness death.

New Safe Sport Act Applies To Most Amateur Sports Organizations This new federal act signed into law in February of 2018 increases the standard of care required to protect youth against child abuse, molestation, and other forms of misconduct.

Parade Float Risk Management For Sports Organizations Two of our largest claims have arisen out of parade float accidents where participants have fallen from floats and have been run over resulting in significant injuries. This article will help to reduce the risk of future parade float accidents.

Managing Charter Bus Risk For Sports Organizations This is a must read for any conference/association hiring a charter bus.

How To Easily Organize Sports Risk Management Documents In The Cloud Legal forms and risk management policies and training are worthless unless you can introduce them into evidence many years after they are collected.  Learn a simple system for storing these critical documents.

Sample AYF/AYC Risk Management Plan

Our recently updated Sample AYF/AYC Risk Management Plan pulls together all of our best risk management content just for youth football and cheer.  Be sure to adopt, implement, and distribute this critical plan or similar comprehensive plan.

Be a part of groundbreaking injury studies

If you purchase your insurance through the endorsed insurance program, all Accident claims automatically become part of the database where our custom software analyzes the information to produce meaningful injury reports. This has led to groundbreaking studies on the comparison of injuries in age only vs age/weight categories and the incidence of concussions within AYF/AYC.

Get Quote Now
 

AYF/AYC Member Benefits: Check out the list of impressive AYF/AYC membership benefits.

 

Please visit our webpage at www.sadlersports.com/ayf or call us at 800-622-7370 if you have any questions.

 

AYF Releases Tackle Injuries Report

Deciphering the statistics

American Youth Football (AYF) is the largest youth football organization in the U.S. and represents a wide cross section of participants aged 5 to 15.  Between 2005-2018, AYF’s endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance, has collected information on 4,534 injuries.  Each injury was analyzed based on 20 different categories and data was input and reports were generated to illustrate the injuries occurring in each category.  Reports from the time periods 2005-2012 and 2013-2018 were compared to reveal trends and it was found that the results were surprisingly consistent.  Any significant trend changes will be noted under the category descriptions below.

AYF constantly reviews and monitors tYOUTH FOOTBALLhis information in an effort to better protect its participants. Should a particular area of concern come to light, more detailed reports can be run to determine if a problem exists that needs additional attention. For example, when concerns arose over the potential dangers of age-only vs. age/weight categories, a report was run that indicated that the risks of injuries in age-only weight categories was about the same as age/weight categories. As regards concussion concerns, AYF will track the frequency of concussions to total injuries over time to determine the impact of parent/player education, coach training on concussion recognition, return to play policies, and improved tackling techniques .

Due to the limitation of this study, it tends to understate minor injuries that were never reported and tends to overstate the more serious injuries that required medical treatment. However, it does represent a statistically significant overview of the frequency of injuries that occur within AYF and youth tackle football as a whole.

Below is a summary of the leading injury statistics by frequency in each category:

Absence From Play

2005-2018
3+ weeks 45%
1 – 3 weeks 20%
1-7 days 11%
Unknown 10%
Not specified 9%
None 5%
TOTAL 100%

Note that many of the less serious injuries were never reported as insurance claims. As a result this category tends to overstate the length of time of absence from play.

Activity While Injured

2005-2018
Running with ball 32%
Tackling 31%
Blocking 15%
Running without ball 6%
Shedding blocker 5%
Catching ball 3%
Passing 2%
Other 6%
TOTAL 100%

Body Part Injured

2005-2018
Knee 13%
Head/temple 12%
Wrist 11%
Forearm 10%
Ankle 8%
Shoulder/collarbone 8%
Finger/thumb 6%
Elbow 5%
Neck 4%
Back 3%
Hand 3%
Other 17%
TOTAL 100%

Note that head/temple as a percentage of total injuries increased from 10% (2005-2012) to 16% (2013-2018) due to the increased attention being given to concussions.

Injured Person

2005-2018
Football player 97%
Coach 1%
Other 2%
TOTAL 100%

Injury Type

2005-2018
Fracture 44%
Joint sprain/strain 14%
Concussion 12%
Bruise/contusion 9%
Dislocation 4%
Pulled muscle 2%
Dental 1%
Cut/scrape 1%
Other 13%
TOTAL 100%

Note that the percentage of fractures tends to be overstated since many of the less serious injuries (sprains, bruise/contusions,  cuts/scrapes, pulled muscles) are not serious enough to be reported as insurance claims.  Also note that concussions as a percentage of total injuries increased from 9% (2005-2012) to 16% (2013-2018).  The reason for this increase is because of the increased awareness, reporting, and treatment being sought for concussions.

Location On Field

2005-2018
On field 94%
Practice field 3%
Sidelines 1%
End zone 1%
Other 1%
TOTAL 100%

Injury Occurred During

2005-2018
Game 56%
Practice 40%
Other 4%
TOTAL 100%

A common misconception is that most injuries in youth tackle football occur during practice. The results clearly indicate that most occur during games. Furthermore, only 28% of concussions occur during practice.

Type Of Play

2005-2018
Offense 46%
Defense 37%
Kicking off 2%
Receiving kick off 2%
Other 13%
TOTAL 100%

Note that very few injuries occur during kickoff returns. Therefore, the  kickoff rule changes implemented by the NCAA and NFL to limit concussions during kickoffs would not be as beneficial in youth tackle football.

Position Played

2005-2018
Running back 24%
Defensive line 17%
Linebacker 12%
Offensive line 10%
Quarterback 9%
Secondary 8%
Receiver 5%
Kickoff returner 2%
Kickoff tackle 2%
Other 11%
TOTAL 100%

Situation

2005-2018
Tackled by player 28%
Tackling player 16%
Contact with ground 16%
Fell on/stepped on 15%
Collision with opponent 6%
Blocked by player 5%
Blocking player 5%
Collision with teammate 4%
Non contact 2%
Blocked from behind 1%
Other 2%
TOTAL 100%

 

Teams/Leagues and Facility Owners: Beware of Low-Quality Sports Insurance

Insurance certificates, brochures, and proposals that can put teams/leagues and their respective directors, officers, employees, and volunteers at financial risk of uncovered lawsuit

Many sports team and league administrators hope or believe that they have adequate protection under their Accident and General Liability policies. They usually place their trust in their local insurance agent – or even a so-called sports insurance specialist. Some that have their insurance provided by their municipal recreation department may rely on their risk manager.

But, how do they know for sure that their insurance adequately protects against some of the most common types of devastating lawsuits?

Many would like to think that their insurance will never be tested. Perhaps they can get by for several years, but eventually something bad will happen.

What are the risks?

We created an article, “Horror Stories About What Can Go Wrong,from claims that were filed by our own clients. Most of their experiences are the expected spectator slips/trips/falls, more serious player injuries resulting in lawsuits, and a number of bizarre and unexpected occurrences. You just never know where risk lurks. Some of the largest sports claims usually arise outside playing the sport itself. We’ve seen large lawsuits arising from the following areas:

  • Falls off parade floats
  • Bleacher collapse
  • Heat illness deaths
  • Charter bus crashes
  • Electrocutions from shorts in light poles
  • Burns when cooking in concession stand
  • League signage blocking view of driver resulting in fatal car crash
  • Large slander/libel lawsuits
  • Fights between umpires and parents

With so much risk abounding within sports and recreation organizations, the quality of insurance must be taken very seriously.

Where the problem begins

Sports and recreation administrators often rely on a simple review of the wrong types of documents. It is a Injury claimmistake for a sports administrator to depend on the review of a certificate of insurance, brochure, or proposal from an insurance agent. None of these documents contain complete details on all policy coverages, definitions, conditions, and exclusions. Dangerous exclusions that take away coverage are often hidden in the fine print.

For example, a certificate of insurance may disclose that a General Liability policy contains a limit of $1 million. However, that same policy may have an exclusion for Athletic Participants. The certificate of insurance will not necessarily disclose the existence of this devastating exclusion, which has a huge bearing on protection.

The  only source for finding the answers on coverage is the actual insurance policies themselves. The problem is that the policies can be exhaustive to review. A typical Accident policy may be 70 pages long, and a typical General Liability policy may be 90 pages long.

Adequate sports insurance checklistProtect yourself with our Insurance Coverage Checklists

We provide the following checklists that can be given to insurance agents for their completion. That way, signing their name to any wrong information on the document could mean that their Errors & Omissions insurance is on the hook.

  •        Sports Organization Insurance Coverage Checklist (Printable PDF)
  •        Recreation Department Insurance Checklist (Printable PDF)

Facility owners at risk when permit holders and facility users carry inadequate coverage

Facility owners such as recreation departments and schools are also at risk when they lease or permit their facilities to facility users. These may be teams, leagues, tournament hosts, camps, instructors, etc. Many facility owners blindly rely on certificates of insurance thinking they tell the whole story.  However, many facility owners are surprised when their own insurance takes the hit instead of the facility user’s insurance they relied upon.

See Insurance for Facility Users of Rec Departments and Schools for more information on how facility owners can protect themselves. Learn how you can offer a referral source so that facility users can quickly and affordably obtain high-quality sports insurance from an industry leading source.

Buyer beware: With just a little effort you can confirm the quality of your sports insurance

With just a little due diligence and use our our checklist tools, teams/leagues and facility owners can verify that they are adequately protected. Your organization and respective directors, officers, employees, and volunteers are counting on you to make the right decision regarding their protection.

If you have questions about the adequacy of your current sports insurance policies, we can provide a no-obligation review. Contact us with your questions.

Excess Accident Insurance

The first line of defense against lawsuits 

Sports Accident insurance pays covered medical expenses of injured participants such as players, coaches, managers, umpires, etc. The coverage is normally excess or secondary, which requires other insurance such as family health insurance to respond first.

How Excess Accident Insurance coordinates with family health insurance

There are three basic scenarios that can arise under excess Accident insurance:

  1. When existing family insurance pays for 100 percent of all medical bills, the excess Accident policy will not make payment for any benefits.
  2. If existing family insurance pays for only 80 percent of all medical bills (due to deductibles or coinsurance provisions), the excess Accident policy will pay for the remaining 20 percent less any deductible or other policy limitations.
  3. If no family insurance exists, the excess Accident policy becomes primary and pays covered benefits less any deductible or other policy limitations.

The existence of Excess Accident insurance on all participants is the first line of defense against lawsuits arising from injuries to sports participants. Much of the incentive for an injured participant or parent to file a lawsuit is removed if either existing family health insurance or the excess Accident policy will guarantee that no out-of-pocket medical bills will be incurred.

Uncovered medical bills = lawsuits looking for deep pocket

Uncovered medical bills will ultimately result in nasty dunning letters and collection phone calls to the responsible party. This usually leads to consultation with an attorney. Of course, the attorney will recommend filing a lawsuit against a deep pocket. That’s the sports organization and its directors, officers, and volunteers.

Why General Liability carriers in the sports niche insist on Excess Accident as the first line of defense

This is why the few General Liability carriers willing to insure sports organizations require Accident insurance as a precondition of coverage. Most General Liability policies include a warranty provision. This means coverage is voided unless a minimum amount of Accident insurance is in force (usually $25,000). For higher-risk sports, some General Liability carriers may require a $100,000 limit.

What if Excess Accident insurance is too expensive?

In these situations, there is really no way around purchasing Accident insurance if it is a requirement of General Liability coverage. However, one solution is to seek a high-deductible Excess Accident policy.  Accident insurance is discounted highly at certain deductible points, such as $500, $1,000, or $2,500. And some General Liability carriers will accept Accident insurance with these higher deductibles.

Different types of deductibles: corridor and disappearing

Most Accident policies have what is called a corridor deductible.  This means the deductible is owed regardless of the existence and contribution of other collectible insurance, such as family health insurance. However, some Accident polices have a disappearing deductible. This means the deductible is satisfied to the extent that other existing insurance has paid medical bills.

Has the Affordable Care Act had an impact on Accident Insurance?

Excess Accident policies pay claims both on an excess and primary basis. If no existing family health insurance is in force, the Excess Accident claim becomes primary. The extent to which the Affordable Care Act increases the percentage of participants covered under family health insurance decreases claim payouts under Excess Accident. However, the high cost of health insurance under the Affordable care act results in higher deductibles and coinsurance. As a result, Excess Accident insurance takes a higher hit than in the past. The two forces tend to balance each other out. However, most of my clients, overall, experienced fewer claims on their Accident loss history. This resulted in premium discounts on some larger experience-rated accounts.

Do Leagues Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The important question you need to ask and we help answer

Are sports organizations required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance when workers are paid? This is a complex issue with some gray areas. Making matters worse for administrators is the fact that consequences can be severe for organizations that don’t have coverage if an injured worker can successfully argue that they are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Most sports organizations such as teams and leagues are run by volunteers, but pay individual workers or businesses for services such as umpiring, janitorial, concessions, field maintenance, etc. And if these sports organizations win a bid to host a large tournament, the number of workers increases. These hired workers are, of course, considered independent contractors, not employees, for tax purposes.

Sports organizations typically purchase Accident and General Liability insurance but not Workers’ Compensation. The Accident policy usually covers all players, coaches, umpires, scorekeepers, and other staff, paying for medical expenses (ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 depending on the limits selected) not covered by family health insurance. The Accident policy is meant to cover volunteers and other paid workers who don’t come under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

I am basing the information below on South Carolina law and my understanding of the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act as it pertains to sports leagues. Other states have similar laws, but slight variations that occur from state to state can make a difference, and several states have enacted laws that exempt sports leagues from carrying Workers’ Compensation.

Liability for injuries to unpaid workers

  • Workers who are not paid are considered to be gratuitous workers. Their injuries are not compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • Workers whose compensation is considered to be expense reimbursement (ex: some umpires) are likely considered to be gratuitous workers.
  • Injured gratuitous workers can file for Accident insurance benefits if such a policy exists.  They can also file a lawsuit against the sports organization based on negligence. Such lawsuits may be covered by a General Liability policy unless a specific exclusion applies to deny coverage.

Liability or injuries to paid employees

  • Just because a sports organization classifies a paid worker as an independent contractor does not mean that the Workers’ Compensation commissioner will agree with such classification. This is true even if there is a contract in place that states the worker is an independent contractor. In these cases, the injured worker almost always claims to be an employee instead of an independent contractor. The commissioner will apply a test based on case law and will look at about 20 different factors. Commissioners are typically sympathetic to injured workers and will go to great lengths to find that they are employees and their injuries compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act as a result.
  • Sports organizations are exempt from carrying Workers’ Compensation if they regularly employ less than four employees within the state or had a total annual payroll of lessworkers' comp cartoon than $3000 during the previous year, regardless of the numbers of people employed during that period.

Liability for injuries to subcontractor workers

  • The terms independent contractor and subcontractor are interchangeable for Workers’ Compensation purposes.
  • Sports organizations hiring subcontractors to perform or execute work that is part of the “trade, business, or occupation” of the sports organization are liable for injuries to the workers of such subcontractors, just as if they were employees of the sports organization.
  • Injures to a subcontractor worker who is a sole proprietor, partner, or LLC owner of the subcontractor business are not compensable under the Work Comp Act. However, these workers will usually claim that they are employees instead of subcontractors.
  • If the subcontractor carries its own Workers’ Compensation policy, such policy will pay benefits to the injured workers. That being said, it’s imperative to require the subcontractor to provide a certificate of insurance as evidence of Workers’ Compensation before they are hired.

Liability and penalties for failure to carry required Workers’ Compensation

If an employee or worker of a subcontractor suffers an injury that is covered under the Act and they seek Workers’ Compensation benefits from a sports organization that was required to carry Workers’ Compensation but failed to do so, the consequences can be severe.

  • Penalties can be assessed against the sports organization to make up for past Workers’ Compensation premiums that should have been paid.
  • The injured worker can file for Workers’ Compensation benefits against the state Uninsured Employers Fund, which results in a lien being placed against the sports organization in an amount that is equal to the benefits paid. This can result in insolvency for the sports organization since the total benefits can be extremely large depending on the seriousness of the injury. Workers’ Compensation may include past and future medical bills, lost wages based on 66.66% of the worker’s average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks paid in a lump sum for a disability, disfigurement, or death benefit.

If you have questions or want to inquire about receiving a Workers’ Compensation proposal, please call Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance at 800-622-7370. You’ll be asked to provide information about the types of work and annual projected payroll of your workers.


DISCLAIMER: THIS ANALYSIS IS NOT MEANT TO PROVIDE SPECIFIC INSURANCE OR LEGAL ADVICE TO ANY SPORTS ORGANIZATION IN SOUTH CAROLINA OR ANY OTHER STATE. SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS MUST SEEK ADVICE FROM THEIR INSURANCE AGENT AND LEGAL COUNSEL BASED ON THEIR OWN UNIQUE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

2015 American Youth Football & Cheer Insurance Program Released

The gold standard that is the envy of the competition

The American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports Insurance, has released the new 2015 insurance program for teams /associations /conferences.  Detailed 2015 coverage and rate information  is now available on our website Our online enrollment became operational on May 16, 2015.

The 2015 offering is, once again, the gold standard in youth football and cheer insurance with an unbeatable combination of low rates, broad custom coverages, and best-in-industry automation that allows instant online enrollment and issuance of proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. But that’s not all: the program also provides best-in-industry risk management resources to prevent injuries before they become claims and groundbreaking studies on safety in youth football and cheer.

Apply, pay, and print proof of coverage documents and certificates in as little as 10 minutes

Our advanced automation is so simple and fast that you can complete the entire insurance purchase transaction and print all your documents in as little as 10 minutes. Many competitors require the completion of forms and days of waiting just to get a quote. Then, once the quote is bound, it can take several days to get the proof of coverage document sand certificates for field owners. Or, they could charge $100 extra for next day rush delivery.

After the purchase, we provide our clients access to our website so that they can self-issue certificates for new field owners 24/7. It’s so easy and our clients love this benefit.

Beware of competing programs that seem too good to be true

We often hear stories about a competitor offering cut-rate policies with a per team rate that is too low to be believable. Whenever this happens, something ends up being defective with the offering, which illustrates that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. We’ve seen cases where the quoted price did not include the cost of both the Accident and General Liability policies, where the organization never reported the transaction to the insurance carrier and no insurance was in force, and where a big corporation was going to foot the bill for the insurance (dream on), etc. After a little bit of digging, these schemes fall apart.

What is being done to combat the risk of concussion/brain injury and related litigation?

Sadler Sports Insurance has released a new Football/Cheer Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program (short form) that is strongly recommended for all teams/associations/conferences. This free program can be downloaded from our risk management page. This program consolidates accepted risk management practices into a three-page document for easy board adoption and implementation. We recommend coaches complete the AYF coaching education program. Certification is required of head football and cheer coaches participating in AYF national championships. We also encourage coaches, volunteers and players view the Seattle Seahawks’ tackle video, which demonstrates their tackling methods. It is important for all teams/association/conferences to thicken their shields by adopting and fully implementing a comprehensive concussion/brain injury risk management program. The future of our sports depends on this action and it’s the right thing to do to protect the kids.

What is being done to combat sex abuse/molestation post Sandusky?

We introduced a simple one-page Child Abuse/Molestation Protection Program – Administrators (short form) that, if adopted by your board and fully implemented, will greatly lessen the chances of an incident occurring within your program. The free program can be downloaded from from our risk management page.

Best-in-industry risk management resources (free)

We have an incredible line up of free risk management resources including articles, legal forms, risk management program templates for your easy adoption and customization, and training videos for administrators and staff. This includes the newly created document entitled Sample AYF/AYC Advanced Plan, which is a comprehensive risk management program customized for AYF/AYC organizations. Please visit our risk management page to access these materials.

Be a part of groundbreaking injury studies

If you purchase your insurance through the endorsed insurance program, all Accident claims automatically become part of the database where our custom software analyzes the information to produce meaningful injury reports. This has led to groundbreaking studies on  the comparison of injuries in age only vs age/weight categories and the incidence of concussions within AYF/AYC.

Insurance Policies Needed by Sports Organizations

The minimum needed for maximum benefit

Because many sports organizations are run by volunteers, they are often under-insured. Insufficient insurance coverage may be a by-product of money-saving efforts or simply a matter of not understanding the risks of exposure to the athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers, and board members

Below is a list of the most important insurance policies that may be needed by community-based sports organizations such as teams, leagues, and municipal recreation departments.
  1. Accident: Pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants such as players and staff.
  2.  General Liability: responds to lawsuits arising from bodily injury, property damage, personal/advertising injury.
  3. Directors & Officers Liability (AKA Trustees Errors & Omissions for municipal recreation departments): Responds to certain lawsuitSports orginizationss not covered by General Liability such as discrimination, wrongful suspension or termination, failure to follow your own rules or bylaws, and violation of rights of others under state, federal, or constitutional law.
  4. Property/Equipment: Covers your buildings, equipment, and contents against loss due to fire, vandalism, theft, etc.
  5. Crime: Covers employee or volunteer embezzlement of funds or theft of property; forgery or alteration of checks by outsiders, and theft of money and securities by outsiders.
  6. Workers’ Compensation: May be required by state law if three or more employees and pays benefits to injured workers for “on the job” injuries including medical bills, lost wages, disability lump sums, disfigurement lump sums, and death benefits.
  7. Business Auto: Covers liability and physical damage to owned, non owned, and hired autos.
  8. Consult with your insurance agent about other types of policies such as Liquor Liability, Cyber Liability, Media, etc.

We provide more detailed information on each of these policy types and insider tips on purchasing insurance in our article, 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance. If you have questions or want assistance in deciding which policies your organization needs, call us at (800) 622-7370.

Copyright 2002-20014, Sadler & Company, Inc.

The Gamble of Being Underinsured

The risks can be catastrophic

Being underinsured is just as big a mistake as being uninsured. It’s no secret that insurance is one of those necessary purchases that buyers resent. But it’s also no secret that purchasing the correct coverage has protected countless people and organizations from potentially catastrophic financial circumstances.

Sports organizations are often run by volunteers who aren’t aware of the potential risks to which their league and players are exposed. This often results in lack of coverage – for all the wrong reasons. Thinking ahead is your insurance agent’s job. He or she has seen it all and knows anything can happen to anyone at any time.

What’s behind the lack of insurance?

Many sports administrators mistakenly believe that they don’t need to buy Accident and General Liability insurance to cover their sports programs for various reasons. After more than 25 years in the sports insurance industry, I’ve heard every excuse in the world for such decisions. Here are the top four:

  • “We’ve never experienced a serious injury or lawsuit.”  The fact is that sports lawsuits tend to be infrequent but have a high potential for severity in terms of potential damages owed. Some sports organizations may go over five years without a serious incident, but it’s just a matter of time.
  •  “Our waiver/release forms will prevent lawsuits.” The use of a well-drafted waiver/release form is a great tool under some circumstances. However, it won’t prevent a lawsuit from being filed. Even if the waiver/release does result in the lawsuit eventually being dismissed, it may still cost $10,000 to $20,000 in legal defense fees to get to that point.
  •  “Volunteer immunity statutes will prevent lawsuits.” State and federal volunteer immunity statutes are a positive step in the right direction. However, they typically have too many loopholes and exceptions that limit their effectiveness. For example, most immunity statutes exempt protection in the event of grossly negligent behavior, willful or wanton conduct, or the reckless disregard for the safety of others. Most lawsuits make these allegations and the judge has to sort out if they have any merit. All this takes time, and the more time it takes to sort this out, the greater the legal fees. In addition, these statutes don’t protect paid staff and the sports organization as an entity itself.
  •  “Our employees/volunteers/administrators provide their own liability policies.” Many sports organizations will leave it up to the individual volunteers or administrators to protect themselves through Homeowner’s Liability, Personal Umbrella, or Coach Certification Liability policies. This can be a dangerous strategy for many reasons. Homeowner’s Liability and Personal Umbrella policies may include an exclusion for lawsuits arising out of activities of the insured person as a sports volunteer. Furthermore, they won’t protect against the non-bodily injury or non-property damage lawsuits that a Directors & Officers policy may protect against such as discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to follow own rules or bylaws, etc.

The insurance policies sports organizations need

Below is a list of the most important insurance policies that most community-based sports organizations such as teams, leagues, and municipal recreation departments should carry.

  • Accident insurance pays medical bills on behalf of injured participants.
  • General Liability responds to lawsuits arising from bodily injury, property damage, and personal/advertising injury.
  • Directors & Officers Liability (or Trustees Errors & Omissions for municipal recreation departments) responds to certain lawsuits not covered by General Liability, such as discrimination, wrongful suspension or termination, failure to follow your own ruGambling diceles/bylaws, and violation of rights of others under state, federal, or constitutional law.
  • Property/Equipment insurance covers buildings, contents and equipment against loss due to fire, vandalism, theft, etc.
  • Crime insurance covers employee or volunteer embezzlement of funds or theft of property; forgery or alteration of checks by outsiders, and theft of money and securities by outsiders.
  • Workers’ Compensation may be required by state law for organizations with three or more employees. It pays benefits to injured workers for on-the-job injuries including medical bills, lost wages, disability lump sums, disfigurement lump sums, and death benefits.
  • Business Auto insurance covers liability and physical damage to owned, non-owned, and hired autos.

There are other types of policies that some organizations may require. For much more detailed information on this topic, please see 7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance.

For assistance in determining which policies your organization needs, to have your questions answered, or to receive a quote, please call us at (800) 622-7370.