Archive for the ‘General Liability’ Category

Sports / Event Insurance for Terrorism, Active Shooter, and Civil Unrest

Las Vegas incident could be tipping point for revamped insurance and risk management

Ever-increasing threats involving terrorism, active shooters, civil unrest and other malicious acts bring to light the need for new, more comprehensive insurance coverage forms. They also prove the need for pre-event and post-event risk management.

As a result of the Las Vegas incident, gone are the days when sports / event administrators can just hope for the best. Sports and recreation events with large numbers of participants / spectators in public settings are ripe targets for malicious actors. As a result, these organizations must start to purchase appropriate insurance and follow risk management best practices when addressing these threats.

The rise in incidents

Active shooter is the most recent peril to gain widespread media attention. This is due to its increasing frequency, ease of planning / execution, and difficulty in prevention. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) definition of an active shooter is “…an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in Terrorism insurancemost cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”

According to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, active shooter events increased from 5.2 per year from 2000 to 2008 to 15.8 events per year from 2009-2012. The figure rose to an average of 20 incidents per year in 2014 and 2015, according to the FBI. Most of these events occurred on business, school, and government properties. However, the Las Vegas incident introduced sports and recreation venues as high-profile target areas.

Mass violence and civil unrest perils represent the potential for many types of losses to sports and recreation organizations

  • Liability for failure to have a risk management plan, failure to respond, inadequate on-site security, inadequate on-site medical personnel, fencing too high to escape, etc. resulting in bodily injury to participants, spectators, employees, independent contractors, vendors, and other members of the public. The potential for damages are astronomical due to the large number of people at risk.
  • Property damage to premises and clean-up expenses. Property damage may result from bullet holes, bomb blasts, fire, vandalism, and contamination. Clean up may include removal of bodies, blood, debris, and contaminants.
  • Public relations expenses and post-event counseling expenses due to emotional and psychological duress.
  • Loss of income from the event and future events, both at the same location and all locations.
  • Loss of reputation resulting in lost future revenues.

Meet the mass violence and disruption perils

Standard terrorism: Traditional terrorist attacks are large scale and highly coordinated. They typically target global corporations, buildings, transportation systems, and other infrastructure with bomb blasts. A new type of ISIS-inspired terrorism emerged in recent years with smaller, lone-wolf type attacks. These include the use of trucks to run through crowds and small arms and knife attacks. Terrorists attempt to intimidate, coerce, or harm a civilian population or government.

Chemical, biological, radioactive terrorism: Terrorists can cause catastrophic loss of life, property damage, and financial loss from chemical, biological, and dirty bomb terrorism. Even the mere threat of these types of terrorism incidents can cause massive losses due to closures, evacuations, and postponements while the threat is being investigated.

Cyber terrorism: Terrorists may employ cyber attacks on a government’s infrastructure, industrial controls, banking system, hospitals, etc., resulting in property damage and business interruption.

Active shooter: Active shooters are typically single assailants who attack large groups in confined spaces. They have no connection to their victims and are not motivated by terrorist causes.

Civil unrest: A disruption in the social order involving a group of people engaging in protests, riots, and strikes, which may result in violence, property damage, and loss of revenue.

Impairment of access: Acts or mere threats of violence can prevent employees or customers from accessing work sites, resulting in financial loss. Impairment may result from terrorism, civil unrest, strike, or government cordon at either the employer’s location, adjacent locations, or within a certain mile radius.

What insurance coverages are required to protect against mass violence and disruptions?

The types of common insurance policies that can come into play after a mass violence or disruption incident are Workers’ Compensation, General Liability, Excess Liability, Property (direct damage and loss of business income), Cyber Risk, Event Cancellation, and Active Shooter insurance.

Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability

Workers’ Compensation responds to job-related injuries to employees or uninsured subcontractors. It covers medical bills, lost wages, and lump-sum awards for disabilities, disfigurements and death benefits. Uninjured employees who witness a malicious act event may qualify for benefits due to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Workers’ Compensation is typically the exclusive remedy for an injured worker.  But some scenarios may arise where employers can be sued directly for failure to respond to specific threat warnings prior to an event. There is no terrorism exclusion under a Workers’ Comp policy.

General Liability

The standard General Liability policy form carried by most sports and recreation organizations will likely respond to most claims alleging failure of the organization to prevent or adequately respond to an incident resulting in Property damagebodily injury or property damage. Note that the policy’s each-occurrence and/or aggregate limit may not be adequate to pay the types of extreme damages that may result when multiple individuals are killed or seriously injured.

General Liability policies may contain an exclusion for certified acts of terrorism as defined by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) unless the buyback has been selected with the additional premium paid. Opting for the buyback, which is relatively inexpensive, is strongly recommended. To be a certified act of terrorism under TRIA, all property & casualty insurance losses must exceed $5 million and an effort made to coerce a civilian population of the U.S. or influence the conduct of the U.S. government.

Excess Liability / Umbrella 

Excess Liability insurance extends the liability limits of the underlying General Liability policy in increments of $1 million, depending on the policy limits purchased. The same coverage considerations that apply to General Liability also apply to Excess Liability. Excess Liability policies may contain the TRIA exclusion for certified acts of terrorism. In addition, some carriers may apply an additional exclusion for non-certified acts of terrorism. This could eliminate coverage for smaller scale terrorist events and active shooter situations. Sports organizations should strongly consider opting for the buyback from certified acts of terrorism under TRIA. They should also consider negotiating with their carrier to remove any exclusion for non-certified acts of terrorism.

Property and Business Interruption

Property insurance policies may pay for Interruption of Businessdirect damage to buildings and contents from a covered malicious act attack. They may also cover indirect damage, which includes loss of business income and extra expense.

Coverage for business interruption is only triggered if there is a direct physical damage loss under the policy. Organizations should also consider a business income buyback for losses stemming from actions by a civil authority to prevent or limit access. This commonly occurs after a malicious act as the location will be considered a crime scene. Business interruption insurance is a complicated coverage. As a result, if a loss occurs, organizations should hire an expert to assist with the filing of a claim to maximize recovery.

Certified acts of terrorism under TRIA can be covered if the buyback is selected and the additional premium paid. However, even with TRIA, the standard war exclusion will not be removed and additional exclusions may exist for nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological (NBCR), depending on the state.

Cyber Risk

Cyber extortionists can shut down computer systems with denial-of-Ransomware attackservice attacks and other cyber-extortion schemes. Terrorists can hack into systems causing direct damage to equipment, software programs, and data. Cyber Risk policies can pay for the following direct damages to the policyholder: extortion or ransom costs; restoration costs of lost data, information, and programming; and business interruption and extra expense resulting from failure of computer systems.

Cyber Risk policies can also pay for liability costs resulting from hacking, breach of confidential data and related credit monitoring costs.  

Event Cancellation Insurance and Enhancements

Due to the limitations of standard property & casualty insurance policies, we advise sports organizations hosting events purchase Event Cancellation insurance with appropriate coverage enhancements.

Traditional Event Cancellation policies may cover loss of business income due to adverse weather; venue unavailability from perils such as fire, collapse, gas leaks, and flood; wildfires, earthquakes; loss or power or communications; communicable disease; non-appearance of key speaker or entertainer; and national mourning.

Additional endorsements may be available to cover loss of business income due to terrorism; sabotage; active shooter, chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear (CBNR) terrorism; war, civil war, and political subversion; strikes, riots, and civil commotion; political intimidating; and national mourning. Some carriers may extend coverage to mere threat of many of these perils.

Active Shooter Insurance

New specialty forms have emerged for stand-alone Active Shooter Insurance. If this coverage can’t be endorsed onto an Event Cancellation Policy for loss of revenues, sports / event administrators should consider an Active Shooter policy. Also, Active Active Shooter InsuranceShooter policies offer a liability limit. The most common coverages and benefits are as follows:

  • Primary Liability with limits ranging from $500,000 to $25,000,000 to cover allegations of negligence from harm caused by attacks using deadly weapons. Even if existing General Liability and Excess Liability policies respond to these allegations, such limits may not be high enough to cover potential damages in an active shooter situation. As a result, a high-limit Active Shooter policy may be a more cost effective way to increase protection.
  • Pre-event services, such as security vulnerability assessment, preparedness seminars, and training modules.
  • Post-event services, including crisis management, advising on emergency communications, emergency call center, and counseling.

Pre-event risk management training for active shooter

Pre-event risk management for active shooter situations is becoming commonplace in educational, business, and governmental settings. Training staff on how to exit, resist, or fight can buy time for law enforcement to arrive.

One respected source of training is the ALICE Training Institute, which focuses its online training module on the following:

Alert: Recognizing danger, first notification to those at risk and law enforcement

Lockdown: Secure in place if unable to evacuate or prepare to evacuate or counter

Inform: Notify law enforcement or others at risk in real time if possible

Counter: Interrupt intruder plans and objectives

Evacuate: Move from danger when safe to do so

ALICE provides client-specific training with a plan geared towards particular locations. In the context of sports and event incidents, the two preferred techniques are usually alert and evacuation.

How to get a quote for Event Cancellation and Active Shooter

For more information on Event Cancellation and Active Shooter insurance and risk management please complete our Contact Us form or call 800-622-7370 and ask for our sports department.

 

2017 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, has released the new 2017 insurance program for teams /associations /conferences.

Detailed 2017 coverage, rate information, and online enrollment are available now on our website!

Get Quote Now

The 2017 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 documents and 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. Just this year we found a competitor that was bragging about their great insurance program but had grossly misrepresented its limits and coverages to the public. We brought this to the attention of their insurance carrier and corrections were made. 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 provides a sample Football/Cheer Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program (short form) 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 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 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/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.

Check Out Our New, Improved AYF Webpage And Video And Our 98% Staff Awesome Rating

Our AYF/AYC webpage has been totally redesigned for an enhanced user experience where our prospect and clients can access all of our services (ex: applying, renewing, issuing certificates, add/delete teams, claims, etc.) without ever having to speak to a staff member at Sadler. However, should you have a question or need assistance, you can contact our staff by email, chat, or phone. We are very proud that surveys indicate that our staff is graded as 98% “Awesome” by those who have contacted us.

Also, all the football and cheer specific risk management content and related blogs are now available directly from the webpage.

In addition, we created a new video that can be viewed individually or by a small group to explain how to access our insurance and risk management services.

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.

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

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

 

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 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”.

Electronic Signatures on Waiver and Release Forms

Can they be accepted?

Actual Client Question:

We were wondering if you require hard signatures on the release of liability form, player parent contract, code of ethics? We do online registration where everyone has their own password to login to their child’s registration, where we have “I Accept” buttons.  In the past, we have had the parents click those buttons and then we have printed the forms and had the parents come to another registration to supply a hard signature. Do you require a hard signature for insurance purposes or would the trigger button hold up in the event of a claim? What is the guideline for electronic signatures?

Answer:

I am not aware of any current court cases that provide a definitive answer to the question of whether electronic signatures on waiver/release forms will likely be upheld. I recently interviewed the claims department manager and general counsel for one of our largest insurance carriers in the sports insurance niche. They indicated that they did not want to inhibit e-commerce by not accepting electronic signatures on waiver/release agreements, but would be watching carefully for any court cases on this issue.

For now, electronic waiver/release forms are generally being accepted by the insurance carriers.

However, I have concerns that should be addressed. First, the electronic signature should be stronger than simply clicking “I Agree.” It should require the full name of the parent who is signing. Second, there must be a place for the minor participant to sign as well. Some may question this, but it is an absolute must. The minor must sign in order to trigger the assumption of risk defense as the waiver/release serves as the risk warning and the acceptance of risk by the minor. If these additional electronic safeguards can’t be initiated, I would advise the use of a paper waiver/release with a hard signature to supplement the electronic registration.

Of course, it goes without saying that the waiver/releases must be properly worded to be given weight in court; so many of them violate the basic principles of contract law. A copy of a sample waiver/release can be found in our risk management library.

– John Sadler

Injury Claims Unique to Health Clubs

What they are and how to reduce risk of occurrences

You work too hard at running your health club to risk it all. But it could easily happen if a client were to sue over something you simply overlooked. Health club General Liability claims typically arise out of the condition of the premises and equipment. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the facility should be performed, and clients always properly instructed on use of the equipment. The three most common claims unique to health clubs and fitness centers are:

  • Falls while stepping on or off of a moving treadmill. which is usually a user error . However, a liability claim can be filed if the injured person did not receive proper instruction on use of the treadmill.
  • Health club risk managementSlips/falls in wet areas. These claims usually occur in locker rooms and sauna, Jacuzzi and pool areas. Such falls are best prevented with non-slip mats and warning signage.
  • Slips/falls in exercise classes. Participants in group exercise classes slip or fall off step platforms and floors that become wet with perspiration and/or condensation from water bottles.

General Liability Risk Management

Steps can be taken to reduce the risk of injuries and claims being made against your facility.

Equipment Maintenance

  • Document and retain maintenance and repairs
  • Equipment safety signage should never be removed
  • Cardio and strength equipment should be checked daily
  • Power cords should be taped down to prevent trips and falls

Wet Areas

  • Non-slip floor mats and safety grab bars should be securely installed at showers/saunas/Jacuzzi exits
  • Signs warning “CAUTION: WET AREA” should be permanently displayed.
  • Members should be encouraged to wear non-slip footwear in wet areas

Group Exercise Area

The condition of group exercise equipment and floors should be checked daily, particularly worn step treads and worn, wet or damaged sections of the floor

Professional Liability Risk Management

Steps can be taken to reduce the risk injury claims being made against your facility resulting from something a staff member or independent contractor does or says (or fails to do or say).

Waiver/Release Forms

  • Have all clients, members and guests sign a waiver or release before using any part the facility. Members and clients should sign a new waiver/release upon renewal each year.
  • Waivers should state that “instruction on all equipment and facilities has been provided and/or offered” to the individual.

Instruction

  • Fitness staff should physically demonstrate all equipment for new members and guests.
  • Renewing members should be offered refresher instruction and instructed on use of any newly purchased equipment.

Staff

  • Staff should all be trained in the proper use of all equipment upon hire and receive training on newly purchased equipment.
  • Fitness staff should be made aware of the policy they are expected provide proper equipment instruction to members and guests.
  • Staff should not exceed their qualifications for fitness and/or health training . Only staff with proper nutritional or medical certifications should offer recommendations in these areas.
  • Independent contractors should offer proof of individual professional liability coverage before working in the facility.

Emergency Procedures

  • All employees should receive a copy and acknowledge by signature receipt of the facility’s emergency procedures plan. This plans should include what steps to take in the event of injury, illness, fire, power outage, severe weather, etc.
  • The emergency plan should be reviewed with staff regularly during the year.
  • Staff who work on the fitness floor should be CPR and first aid certified. At least one CPR and first aid trained staff member should be on the floor at all times.
  • If the facility has an automatic external defibrillator (AED), at least one staff member with AED training should be on site at all times.

If you have questions regarding risk factors, please call us at (800) 622-7370, and you can visit our Health Club Insurance page to find a plan that suits your specific needs. We specialize in these areas:

Circuit Training

Day Spas

Exercise Studios

Fitness Clubs

Health Clubs

Pilates Studios

Yoga Studios

 

Soccer Goal Tipping Hazards

Unanchored goals pose danger to players

I came across a fantastic CBS News video that explains exactly how unanchored soccer goals can tip over and seriously injure or kill a child. At least one child fatality  and 200 injuries from tipped soccer goals are reported each year. Soccer goals can weigh several hundred pounds and cause catastrophic bodily damage, such as a crushed skull or broken limbs, when they tip over and come in contact with players. Coaches, players, and parents need to be educated on this topic and should check soccer goals prior to every practice and game to make sure they are properly anchored.

Sports General Liability insurance carriers that insure soccer organizations must often absorb full policy limit lawsuits resulting from these death claims.

You can view the video by following this link.

Problem Exclusions for Sports/Recreation Organizations

Tips for negotiating common problem exclusions in General Liability policies

Sports and recreation organizations and related sanctioning/governing associations often purchase General Liability insurance policies that include dangerous exclusions that could result in lack of legal defense and coverage to pay for settlements or adverse jury verdicts. This is why it is essential for a qualified and experienced insurance expert to actively negotiate with the carriers to remove or modify such exclusions.

All General Liability policies grant broad coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by an occurrence under the insuring agreement that is found in the beginning of the policy. In addition, all General Liability policies use exclusions to remove coverage for certain situations that are deemed uninsurable for various reasons (ex: too risky, moral hazard, against public policy) or that should be insured under a different type of policy (ex: Workers’ Compensation, Auto, Property). The exclusions include both standard exclusions that are found in the exclusion section of the General Liability policy as well as exclusions that are found in endorsements (i.e. policy amendments) that are attached as pages near the end of the policy.

Below is a list of some of the most common problem exclusions for sports and recreation organizations that are found on General Liability policies. Every attempt should be made to negotiate the removal or modification of these exclusions to a more acceptable version. If negotiation does not yield acceptable results, serious consideration should be given to finding a new insurance carrier. However, this list is not all-inclusive as there are a number of other problem exclusions that are found less frequently.

 Athletic or Sports Participants Exclusion

This exclusion takes away coverage for bodily injury to any person while practicing for or participating in any sports or athletic contest or exhibition that is sponsored by the insured.

Iyouth sports insurancensurance carriers that don’t specialize in insuring sports organizations commonly use this exclusion to control what they perceive to be as an unacceptably high risk. Its existence often slips by insurance agents and risk managers who don’t carefully review the policy form or who aren’t aware that quality sports insurance coverages can be obtained through multiple sources.

The use of this exclusion for most sports and recreation organizations is totally unacceptable since athlete injuries and lawsuits are a common occurrence. Furthermore, sports and recreations organizations represent a severity risk since damages from catastrophic sports injuries can be high. The existence of this exclusion reduces an organization’s General Liability policy to what is commonly known as a spectator liability policy.

Knowledgeable underwriters lower the risk of paying General Liability claims for athletic participant injury lawsuits by mandating the existence of Accident Insurance (amateur sports), Workers’ Compensation Insurance (professional sports), and waiver/release forms. Please see our article “Are Waivers  Worth the Paper They Are Written On?”

Participant vs. Participant Exclusion

This exclusion takes away coverage for instances when one participant sues another participant. Since participants are broadly defined, this could player vs. player, coach vs. coach, or player vs. coach. It’s important to note that most versions of this exclusion don’t penalize other parties that could be dragged into the lawsuit, such as the sport organization as an entity or the directors, officers, or other staff members.

Non-coverage for the all-too-common player vs. coach situations is a totally ridiculous exclusion that must be avoided.  One negotiation strategy is to narrow the context of the Participant vs. Participant exclusion by changing it to a Player vs Player (or Athlete vs. Athlete) exclusion.

An argument can be made for the existence of a Player vs. Player exclusion as a disincentive in adult sports situations where one adult athlete recklessly endangers the safety of another adult athlete. However, it is becoming increasingly common for carriers to remove the Player vs. Player exclusion in youth sports. On the other hand, it could be argued that the Player vs. Player exclusion is not a problem in youth sports since youth players aren’t normally targets in lawsuits because they lack  assets to satisfy judgments.

 Volunteer vs. Volunteer Exclusion

The 2001 and later editions of the standard Insurance Services Office (ISO) General Liability policy form added what is commonly Volunteer liabilityreferred to as the Volunteer vs. Volunteer exclusion, which can have a detrimental and unexpected impact in the sports context. Lawsuits that may fall under the scope of this exclusion include coach vs. coach, umpire vs. coach, manager vs. coach, etc. It’s not uncommon for one coach to accidentally (but negligently) injure another coach during skills demonstrations or drills. For example, one of our youth baseball clients recently filed a claim for a lawsuit arising from batting practice where the head coach hit a ball that struck an assistant coach who was not paying attention. It’s possible to negotiate the removal or modification of this exclusion with many carriers.

Assault and Battery Exclusion

The standard ISO General Liability policy form has an exclusion for bodily injury or property damage expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured. However, this exclusion does not apply to bodily injury resulting from the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property.

youth sports insuranceWhen the Assaultand Battery exclusion is added to the policy, the exception is removed for the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property. This can result in some unexpected denials of coverage in the sports context. For example, a coach or umpire could be denied coverage for engaging in self-defense against an aggressor who is injured and files a lawsuit. Also, lawsuits have been filed against coaches who accidentally injured a participant while trying to break up a fight.

In addition, most versions of the Assault and Battery Exclusion specify that coverage does not apply to the insured (sports / recreation organization) for incidents committed by its employees, volunteers, or any other person; for failure to suppress or prevent an incident; or for negligent hiring, supervision, or training.

It’s common for the sports and recreation organization and its officers and board of directors to be named as defendants along with the staff member who allegedly committed the assault and battery. The most common theory of recovery is for negligent hiring when the accused staff member is found to have a criminal background that should have been an indication of a propensity for violence. This is another reason (other than the concern over sexual offender crimes) why staff members should be screened with background checks for suitability.

Warranty of Waiver/Release

Some General Liability policies may have a warranty provision that voids coverage in the event of a participant injury lawsuit if the sports or recreation organization can’t produce a signed and dated waiver/release agreement on behalf of the injured participant filing the lawsuit. Waiver/release agreements are to be strongly encouraged; however, many organizations don’t have strong administrative and record keeping procedures and it’s possible for a single document to slip between the cracks despite the best intentions of the administrators.

A less severe version of this warranty provision requires the organization merely to have a procedure in place for the collection of signed and dated waiver/release agreements on behalf of all participants. Such wording may not result in coverage denial in the event that a single waiver/release can’t be produced so long as there is evidence that a procedure was in place and there was a good faith attempt to administer such procedure. However, the wording of such warranty provisions must be carefully reviewed to gain a clear understanding of the requirements for coverage.

Punitive Damages Exclusion

Most summons and complaints (lawsuit papers) in the sports and recreation context for bodily injury incidents request punitive damages and refer to the lack of care by the negligent party as being grossly negligent, willful, wanton, and reckless. Proof of such extreme misconduct is necessary to support a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages over and above the regular compensatory damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, etc. Punitive damages are meant to punish and make an example of the grossly negligent party. Even though punitive damages are often difficult to prove, it does not makes sense for a General Liability policy to exclude punitive damages and subject the covered parties to needless worry.

Some states have case law or statutes that may not allow insurance carriers to insure punitive damages since it may be considered to be against public policy.

 Sex Abuse/Molestation Exclusion

The Sex Abuse/Molestation exclusion endorsement is commonly used by underwriters for youth sports and recreation risks due to sports risk managementthe difficulty in implementing adequate loss controls, the severity risk, and the risk of multiple claimants and incidents. This endorsement is usually attached near the end of the policy.

Other forms of child abuse are often included within the scope of this exclusion including physical abuse and emotional abuse. These often take the form of excessive exercise as punishment and verbal insults.

Sports and recreation organizations should always attempt to negotiate a buyback of this coverage and should stand ready to adopt and implement required loss controls. For more information on the abuse/molestation risk including specific risk management programs and training videos, please visit our risk management library.

Contractual Liability Limitation

Sports and recreation organizations frequently enter into contracts that include indemnification and hold harmless provisions where they assume the tort liability that would ordinarily belong to the other party to the contract. Such assumption of contractual liability can be covered under General Liability policies (depending on the exact wording of the provisions). However, General Liability policies that include the Contractual Liability Limitation Endorsement can take away this needed protection.

An example of the application of this exclusion would occur when a sports organization sends a travel team to play in a tournament and as part of the registration process, the sports organization signs an agreement with the tournament host that includes an unfavorable hold harmless/indemnification provision in favor of the tournament host. Such a provision may require the sports organization to assume all liability for injury to its players, even if arising out of the sole negligence of the tournament host. In the event that a player drowns during a tournament host sponsored and supervised swimming party, the sports organization may be legally responsible due to the contractual assumption of such liability. In such a circumstance, the Contractual Liability Limitation Endorsement could result in a claim denial that could have a devastating impact on the sports organization and its administrators and staff.

Collapse of Temporary Structure

Temporary structureSome General Liability policies may have a Collapse Of Temporary Structure Exclusion that can have the impact of removing coverage in the event of certain bleacher collapses. Bleacher collapses often involve multiple claimants with serious injuries. Whether or not a particular bleacher is temporary or permanent can be subject to debate. The insurance carrier may argue that any bleacher that is not permanently anchored or affixed is temporary.

Ownership/Maintenance/Management of Athletic Fields or Facilities Exclusion

This exclusion if often used by insurance carriers to limit their responsibility to pay for claims that arise out of incidents that occur during sanctioned and supervised operations or activities such as practices, games, tournaments, banquets, meetings, field work days, etc.

Such an exclusion would preclude coverage that arises out of the mere ownership, maintenance, or management of the athletic field or facility. Many serious injuries occur on property at times other than during sanctioned and supervised events. Athletic fields, if not properly secured, often draw members of the public who may participate in pick up games or who may play on playground equipment such as swings and slides. Property owners, lessors, and managers are often found to be liable when a premises related condition is the cause of the injury.

Field / facility owners and lessors (that are responsible for what happens 24/7 under the provisions of a lease agreement) need to verify that their General Liability policy covers the 24/7 ownership or management risk exposure.

Note: The coverage form referenced is ISO CG 00 01 12 07
The above list of problem exclusions is not all inclusive. Each General Liability policy must be carefully reviewed from cover to cover at every renewal to make sure that the underwriters have not slipped in an unacceptable exclusion.

Coach Certification Liability Insurance

Several of the coach certification training organizations offer General Liability insurance as a membership benefit to the coaches. This is a great benefit that is designed to act as a safety net in the event that the sports organization neglects to provide its own insurance or if its insurance contains unacceptable exclusions.

Some sports organizations that require all of their coaches to be certified mistakenly interpret this membership benefit as a green light to forgo purchasing their own General Liability insurance. This is a dangerous mistake. Individual coach certification General Liability insurance will not provide protection under the following circumstances:

  •  It won’t cover the sports organization as an entity. As a result, the assets of the entity are unprotected if a lawsuit results in legal defense costs, settlement, or an adverse jury verdict. This can be catastrophic; even small sports organizations can have many thousands of dollars of asset value in their bank accounts, equipment, real estate, etc.
  • It won’t allow for the issuance of a certificate of insurance under the name of the sports organization, which may be a property owner’s requirement for field or facility access.
  • When a youth participant is injured, it is customary for all adult volunteers in close proximity to the injury to be shotgunned into the lawsuit based on negligent supervision. This includes the head coach, assistant coach, manager, umpire, referee, team mother, etc. In addition, the organization’s board members and officers will normally be included based on lack of general supervision. It’s likely that not all these volunteers are certified coaches and therefore won’t be protected.
  • Most coach certification liability policies only cover lawsuits arising out of direct coaching activities. However, many lawsuits in the youth sports context arise out of non-sport activities and outings such as swimming parties, restaurant celebrations, backyard cookouts, banquets, fundraisers, etc.

The bottom line is that all sports organizations need their own General Liability policy. If you have questions, or want assistance in determining your insurance needs, please call us at (800) 622-7370.

 

Copyright 2002-2014, Sadler & Company, Inc.

 

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.