Archive for the ‘Risk Management’ 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.

 

Deterring Child Predators in Youth Sports

Protecting kids is a group effort

Do parents who send their children to ball practice ever think that they might be handing them over to a sexual predator?  That’s probably the last thing that crosses their mind.  They assume that they can trust the coaches, volunteers and league administrators who come in contact with their children..

The predatSad soccer playeror’s thought process

League administrators are responsible to do all in their power to protect these children.  It is unfortunate that not everyone is aware of the dangers that sexual predators pose or are how this battle to protect our children can be fought.  The September 1999, Sports Illustrated article “Every Parent’s Nightmare”  is still relevant.  It’s an in-depth, in-your-face report about abuse in youth sports. The article takes readers inside the heads of  the average sexual predator. It delves deep into the thought process of predators who found their victims on ballfields. Those highlighted in the story made a combined effort to let readers know HOW they got to the children and signs for which parents and other adults need to be on the lookout.

Although there is no foolproof method to prevent sexual abuse and molestation, we can work together as a team to put safeguards in place.  In collaboration with attorneys, insurance underwriters and national risk managers, we have developed information to provide our youth sports league administrators, coaches and volunteers with the necessary tools for putting a risk management program in place.  The risk management section of our website provides a Child Abuse and Molestation Protection Program, Child Abuse and Molestation Handout for Parents, and specific information on conducting criminal background checks.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like any further information.

Personal Trainers and Dietary Supplements

Fitness instructors must work within the limits of their certification

All personal trainers and fitness instructors want to see their clients get results from the training that they provide, but it’s important they know their own limits.  Personal trainers are often asked for advice about dietary supplements, while others even take on the additional role of selling them.

I caution personal trainers about giving such advice on any level because, believe it or not, they can be swept up as a defendant in a product liability suit.

The dietary supplement industry has been the focus of an FDA criminal investigation for widespread deceptive marketing tactics and hidden ingredients in some products. In 2015,  charges were filed against 117 manufacturers and distributers of products falsely marketed as dietary supplements.

Another big issue with dietary supplements is how many contain undeclared substances – as many as 25% of those on the market. Not all those undeclared substances are necessarily harmful, but surely the manufacturers have an obligation to inform consumers as to what they’re ingesting.

The root of the problem

In 1994, Congress defined  dietary supplement as “a product taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet.” This resulted in supplements fitting into the regulatory category of foods, not drugs.  That being said, the regulations for supplements are much more lax than those  for prescription medications. This leaves an opening for supplement manufacturers and distributers to infiltrate the market with impure and mislabeled dietary supplements.

What this means for you

If a client to whom you offered advice about or sold a dietary supplement has an adverse reaction due to an undeclared substance, you could be sued along with the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer in a product liability lawsuit.

A case that made it to the New York State Supreme Court detailed in the New York Times article “Health Club and Trainer are Sued in a Death” shows what can happen when a trainer goes too far in advising clients on dietary supplements.

It’s best to steer clear of offering nutritional and dietary advice. Stay in your lane as a certified fitness instructor,

Sports Risk Management for Senior Participants

Preventing injuries and accidents with senior athletes

The baby boomers have gone gray. The youngest of them are in their mid-50s, sprinting toward their senior citizen discounts and fumbling for their reading glasses.

But the generation that ushered in aerobics classes, jogging, and in-home treadmills to popular culture aren’t slowing down. Gyms, rec centers, and fitness classes are filled with people in their 60s and 70s.

If you’re a personal trainer, health/rec center owner/operator, or sporting event planner, you need to be cognizant of the particular health and safety concerns when working with seniors.

First things first

You can expect that most seniors have significant health-related histories that range Fitness Trainer insurancefrom failing vision to cardiac disease and anything inbetween. It’s important that you obtain a current and detailed medical history from all seniors, which should include current medications, allergies, implanted devices and past surgeries.

Orthopedic issues

One of the first things to degrade as we age is our sense of balance, which means an increased risk of falls. Minimize these risks by making monitoring trip hazards such as curled mat edges, rugs that slip, wet area and split-level step ups.

Time and use have left their mark on the joints, bones and muscles of seniors. Arthritis and osteoporosis are common ailments  among seniors. The results can be loss of cartilage, lack of joint-lubricating fluids, and diminished strength of tendons and ligaments. Such issues leave seniors more susceptible to falls, stress fractures.

Age also has a way of affecting our reflexes, so seniors typically react more slowly. It’s important to recognize that senior athletes may be in good physical shape to participate in their activity of choice, but their reaction time may be less toned, which can result in accidents.

Cardiac and pulmonary issues

Heart and lung-related medical issues are often not immediately apparent, which makes them that much more dangerous. This is a perfect example of why having a medical history on file is important.  Seniors with such histories should be required to provide clearance from their medical provider before participating in vigorous or moderate to high aerobic activities.

Heart disease can result in a decreased supply of oxygen to the muscles, which can cause shortness of breath, chest pain and even a heart attack.  A defibrillator should be available at your facility or sporting event and staff trained in its use.Sports risk management

Seniors with a history of smoking, asthma and chronic lung disease should be monitored for signs of stressful breathing. Extremely hot and humid conditions can also impact breathing, as can pollen when participating in outdoor activities.

Eyes and ears

Eyesight is among the first senses to be affected with age. Suggest to those who wear glasses that they bring an extra pair just in case they break theirs. Better yet, suggest they invest in sports lenses or a sturdy headband to prevent glasses from falling off. Consider taking the proactive step of keeping a glasses repair kit on hand. Adequate lighting, especially in corridors and restrooms, is essential.

While many seniors live with varying degrees of hearing loss, most do nothing about it. Consequently, they miss much verbal information, which can cause confusion and accidents. It helps to have as much information as possible available in print documents. Clear signage is also important in facilities and venues.

The outdoors

As stated earlier, heat and humidity are significant concerns for senior citizens. They’re also more susceptible to dehydration. Make sure seniors athletes always have access to seating, shade, and plenty of water when it’s hot to avoid any level of heat illness. Encourage them to wear hats and sunglasses when possible and to apply sunscreen.

Rain means puddles and slippery surfaces, and we already know seniors are prone to falling. Monitor the paths and playing areas for accumulated water and slippery areas, as well as holes and debris such as trash and limbs and leaves.

The bottom line

No need to fear working with senior athletes. Most have been active for many years and are aware of their limitations. But being prepared for the unexpected is your best bet in dodging liability in the event of an injury.


Source: Marc I. Leavey. “Planning a Sports Event?” Sports Destination Management. March/April 2017.

Managing Risk in Parking Lots During Sports Events

Aim for an injury-free zone

Sporting events are controlled competition among rivals, and that gets people excited. For as long as people have been running races, throwing balls, and riding horses, crowds have gathered to cheer on the competitors.

When emotions run high, that excitement can continue after the competition is over, and not always with good results.  All too often, the parking lots associated with sporting events can become an arena for fights, assaults and other dangerous behavior. Parking lots are where more than 7 percent of violent attacks at sporting and other large crowd events take place, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Anything can happen

Tailgating and fierce rivalries can lead to confrontations, intentional or not. Whenever alcohol is present, so is the potential for a something to go wrong. For example, a fan suffered a broken leg following a college football game when a drunk patron knocked her down as she walked to her vehicle. She sued the school because no securitSporting event parking lot liabilityy or parking lots attendants were present when the incident took place. Taking the fact that the school sold alcohol at the event and therefore knew the potential for intoxication and the risks involved to attendees, the court ruled in the student’s favor.

The facility’s responsibility

Facility owners/managers should take proactive steps to reduce the potential for bodily injury and property damage in parking lots that can result from tailgating, accidents, fights, assaults, vandalism, etc. Anytime a large crowd includes excited, upset, and possibly intoxicated people, tempers can flare. Add to the mix rain, heat, and/or a long wait to get out of the parking lot, and trouble can easily erupt.

Below are risk management strategies to reduce parking lot risks.

  1.  Document everything. It’s easier to defend your facility if it has written training manuals, documented safety checks, a log of issues/resolutions and video or still images of recorded incidents.
  2. Maintain appropriate lighting, checking bulbs annually.
  3. Remove shrubs and keep large trashcans and other large objects from obstructing a full view of the parking lot.
  4. Have sufficient parking lot staff to visually monitor and conduct periodic walking checks of all areas.
  5. Train parking lot staff to address violations, establish a presence by interacting with fans, and intervene immediately when disturbances take place.
  6. Install high-resolution security cameras.
  7. Meet prior to the event with security officials, law enforcement and facility management to discuss potential issues and debrief following the event.
  8. Ensure that parking lot staff members are all on the same page about who has authority, the chain of command, and proper communication channels and procedures.
  9. Inform fans of safety procedures using signs, the public address system, and fliers.

A facility won’t be liable for unanticipated third-party criminal acts. But if an incident does take place, the facility has a duty to take precautions against future occurrences.  Not doing so can mean significant liability.


Source: Gil Fried. “How Safe are Parking Facilities Near Sporting Events?”rel=nofollowFrom Gym to Jury. Vol. 26. No. 4.

Outdoor Risks: Tips For Surviving Wildlife Encounters

When enjoying outdoor sports and recreation activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, camping and hunting, most people know to follow the basic safety precautions: let someone know where you’ll be, carry enough water, pack first-aid supplies – you know the drill. But all too often outdoor lovers forget they’re invading the territory of creatures that aren’t anticipating or wanting human visitors. And while spotting wildlife can be an enjoyable experience, encountering animals that feel threatened or are protecting their young can be quite dangerous

Below are tips on how to respond if you encounter some of the more common and potentially ferocious animals.

  • Bears typically avoid humans, but if they perceive a danger to their young they can attack immediately. It’s never advisable to scream or run if an attack appears imminent. It’s best to speak in a monotone and slowly back away without making any sudden moves. If that fails, your best option is to drop face down into the fetal position and keep your throat, neck and face covered. Bears usually go right for the jugular or torso to expose vital organs, so keeping those areas covered is your only defense.
  • Wolves nearly always travel in packs made up of an alpha male and several omega males, the latter being the ones you’ll be most likely to come up against. Never run from a wolf or pack of wolves – chasing is an instinct of all canines. Wolves are easily intimidated by a show of dominance, so stand your ground and wave your arms or a long object, such as a stick or rifle, to make yourself appear as large as possible. Yelling and throwing objects while doing this will probably scare them off.

However, if directly attacked by a wolf, the best thing to do is wrestle it into a headlock, putting it in a chokehold. Once the wolf realizes you’re the alpha dog, it will likely give up the fight and run off along with the omega wolves. You’ll more than likely suffer some injuries, but many people have survived using this technique.

  • Coyotes also travel in packs led by an alpha member. Coyotes are quite a bit smaller than wolves, but don’t let that give you false sense of security.

Coyote attacksAs with wolves, intimidation is your best weapon against a pack of coyotes. Rather than run, stand your ground, making yourself appear as large as possible while yelling and making motions of aggression.  Attack by the alpha male is a rare occurrence, but fighting him into a chokehold will prove you’re dominant and the whole pack will likely run off.

  • Bird attacks are rare, and they don’t occur as depicted in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. However, flocks of crows, ducks and geese can attack, and individual swans and geese can also exhibit aggressive behavior when provoked or threatened.

The best defense is to use an article of clothing to protect your face and eyes and find shelter. Most birds instinctively fly away, but can attack and cause significant damage. Birds will attack in flight from all different directions, which leaves you no option but to get yourself to shelter immediately.

Larger birds, such as geese and swans, can be quite intimidating when threatened, and their bites can cause injuries. As tempting as it might be, do not turn and run and don’t yell or be aggressive. Instead, stay facing the bird and slowly back away, even if it follows you. These birds are territorial and will usually relax once you no longer pose a threat to the area.

  • Raccoons can be very vicious when provoked or their territory is invaded. A rabid raccoon will also likely be aggressive. If attacked by one or more raccoons, never turn your back. Back off while facing them so they won’t chase you. Yelling and making loud noises will intimidate them, but always maintain eye contact. Racoons are cunning and will take the slightest opportunity to attack.  If you are bitten or jumped on, it’s important to stay on your feet to minimize the attack and prevent bites to the face and neck.

Source: Alden Morris. “Defending Against Wild Packs of Animals,” www.survivallife.com

Ensuring Security at Special Events

Tips for planning and executing event security

The security staff you see at sporting events, festivals, concerts and other special events didn’t just show up 30 minutes before the gates opened. The event hosts did a lot of planning long before the event to ensure the safety and security of the participants and guests. If you’re organization is planning a special event that requires security, here are some tips when hiring a security firm that can help make your special event run as smoothly as possible.

You get what you pay for

Your budget is obviously an important component in planning your event. However, different types of events require different levels of training and skills from the security team. Some security firms specialize in high-end security that includes highly trained, retired law enforcement and/or military personnel. Other companies may hire individuals with little training but who may appear threatening due to their size  (think nightclub bouncer). And there’s everything in between.

Sporting events can give rise to heated confrontations among spectators, sometimes resulting in physical fights. Alcoholic beverages being served can also give rise to rowdy behavior. In such cases, you want individuals trained to diffuse the situation and maintain peace, not escalate things. It’s also important that your security staff know when it’s time to call in local law enforcement before things get out of control.

It’s critical that no matter what level of security firm you hire that it be licensed, bonded and insured. In the event of a security incident, you want to transfer the risk of damage or injury to the security firm. If you don’t, your organization and anyone involved in the planning can be held liable if allegations are made of inadequate security or personal injury by one of the security staff.

It’s all in the planning

You can’t expect your security team to arrive at the event 30 minutes before your event begins and get a brief rundown of what’s expected of them. Security for any size event takes pre-planning, typically months or even a year in advance.

At your first planning meeting, the security company should review with you details about who will be attending (i.e. participant and spectator demographics), hours of operation and expected busiest times, alcohol permits, vendors, parking arrangements and much more. These details determine the number of security staff required for the job and strategic placement of staff throughout the event  

Special Events InsuranceIt’s important that your security firm is familiar with your local law enforcement agency, your venue, and the surrounding area of your event. It’s important to note that you may, depending on the type of event, be required to submit a security plan to your town or city in order to obtain a permit. Festivals/concerts in public parks and road races are examples of events that may require permits. Large events like these often need traffic control. Your security team may need to meet in advance with law enforcement to go over how public parking and traffic flow will be handled during the event.

Outdoor events always need a contingency plan in case of bad weather. Your Plan B should be discussed in detail with the security firm long before it goes into action.

Don’t forget to inform the security firm of any specific concerns you may have during the planning meeting. These could be issues such as terrorism, gang activity, or heated competitions between rival sports teams.

Financial planning

This isn’t about your budget, but about keeping your funds secure. If you’re charging an entry fee or selling food, beverages and souvenirs, that money is at risk for being stolen. At your planning meeting ask if security staff can periodically collect funds from concessions or gatekeepers for safekeeping in a designated area under lock and key. Sadly, the chances of a guest stealing the money are much lower than those of your own staff and volunteers pocketing easily accessible cash.

Dealing with accidents and questions

Injuries and illness can occur anywhere to anyone. Sporting events in particular are high risk for injuries. Some security firms supply EMTs so be sure to ask. Location of the medical tent and plans for ambulance access should be discussed at your planning meeting as well.

It’s a good idea to set up a guest services area and have event staff and volunteers all wearing matching shirts, preferably with “Event Staff” printed on the back. Your security team should be aware ahead of the event of who is on staff and where guests can be pointed to in order to get assistance.

After the crowd goes home

It’s recommended, and usually welcomed by your security firm, that you have a post-event meeting to review what worked well and what didn’t, and discuss any problems that may have occurred that nobody thought about in advance. Your security company wants your business and you don’t want to have to shop around for another company for your next event. A review of this type goes a long way in building a strong working relationship.


Source: Jeff Croissette. “Effective Planning for Event Security.” www.sportsdestinations.com. 26 Sept. 2016.

6 Tech Tips for Sports Organizations

Keeping you technologically safe and running smoothly

Almost every youth sports organization has a paid employee or volunteer who is responsible for managing the organization’s website, accounting system, databases, registration system, game and tournament schedules, employee and volunteer work schedules and maybe even social media accounts.

Incoming and current technical managers can benefit from the tips below on efficiency and security offered below.

  • Take stock of the technology you have. The first step in maintaining safe and functional technology is knowing exactly what you have.  Set up a spreadsheet of all your software and hardware systems. Record the product names and versions, where each was purchased and contract end dates. You’ll have all the information you need in one place – preferably where others in the organization can access it if necessary.

 

  • Talk to your predecessor.  If you’re the incoming tech manager, make sure to have a conversation with the outgoing manager and pick his/her brains about any past or present problems, potential upgrades, and any glitches in the operation. It’s critical that you obtain all the login information for your systems, programs and websites. It’s just as important to know who else has access to this information and to change passwords that former administrators, staff or volunteers may have.  This includes revoking administrator privileges to the outgoing director.

 

  • Where is everything?It’s important to learn where all the organization’s data is stored – both electronic and paper. If possible, scan paper files into PDF format for online storage. The organization’s data should not be stored on anyone’s personal computer. If multiple users need access, consider using Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox or another cloud service. They’re more secure, accessible from anywhere, and free!

 

  • You are your website. Maybe your responsibilities include maintaining the association’s website and managing its social media accounts.Your website is the face of your organization. Review it with a keen eye and see what needs updated and delete anything not related to the current or next year. Make sure it’s mobile responsive, which means the layout and images can be viewed correctly on a tablet or smart phone.  Make sure your site is secure, with at least 256-bit encryption.

    Think twice about letting a player’s parent offer to build and host a website and link it to your social media as an act of goodwill or a money-saving effort. All too frequently these helpful people become less eager or simply disappear as they change jobs, their kids age out of the program, move, or simply become too busy. Depending on such a person to get your website up and continuing to run smoothly can be disastrous. Better to rely on a company that provides technical and customer service when you need it.

 

  • Get feedback.  Who, other than parents, coaches and board members, would know what’s working and what isn’t? No one! Take the time to ask them if they’re experiencing problems registering players, making payments, etc. Ask if they have suggestions for improvement. Consider emailing a survey asking for feedback. You may not be able to implement all the suggestions, but being a good listener, taking their complaints seriously, and attending to issues quickly calms frustrations and  builds trust.

    As the tech director, you’ll be one of the most sought after people in your association. Therefore, document everything you do in a spreadsheet, from dates of technical repairs to conversations with vendors. You’ll be glad you did when someone raises questions and you have the answers at your fingertips.

 

  • Liability Concerns from websites and social media.  And finally, you must protect yourself from your liabilities arising from breach of confidential information due to a hacker attack, invasion of privacy, and a libelous posts on your website or social media. These risks are not adequately covered by most General Liability policies due to various exclusions. Many Directors & Officers Liability policies are now offering coverage extensions with sub limits of coverage to address these risks. Or, a stand-alone Cyber Risk policy may be purchased for associations with heavy exposure. Contact Sadler Sports & Recreation insurance for more information on these policies.

Source:  Paul Langhorst. “8 Tips for the New Sports Association Technology Director.” www.engagesports.com. 29 Oct., 2015.

The Truth About Concussion Risk Management in Youth Football

How to Plan a Youth Football Brain Injury Risk Management Program

Local associations must adopt and implement a concussion/brain injury management program to battle looming liability crisis.

For the past three years, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance has been urging our youth tackle football clients to implement comprehensive brain injury risk management programs to help to prevent injuries and resulting lawsuits from becoming insurance claims. In the event that a lawsuit is filed by an injured participant, whether from a single concussion, multiple concussions, or cumulative traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it is crucial for a local association to show that it has complied with the national standard of care for brain injury protection. Doing so not only protects the players against injuries and the association and staff against lawsuits, but also protects the General Liability insurance carrier, which makes it more likely that brain injury coverage will be available in the future.

Standard of care owed is determined by state legislation, case law, sanctioning and governing bodies, risk management resources, and expert witnesses

In a negligence-based lawsuit, the claimant filing the lawsuit must prove that a duty was owed, the duty was breached, and that the breach was the cause of the damages. The duty that is owed is also known as the standard of care. The standard of care to protect against brain injury for youth football players will be determined by state legislation, case law, sanctioning and governing bodies, risk management resources, and expert witnesses.

Depending on the source, some standards are mandated and others are recommended or are just guidelines. However, understand that the claimant’s attorney will argue that even recommended standards and guidelines should be implemented by a reasonable and prudent youth football association.

9 Elements of a solid written risk management program for youth football associations

The following elements should be considered by local tackle football associations when developing their concussion/brain injury risk management program.

  1. Written program

A written risk management program should be adopted by board action and communicated to all administrators, staff, players, and parents. A written program that builds in accountability is much more likely to be implemented than a program that is not in writing.

  1. Educational awareness through online training and information handouts

Coaches should receive training and certification in both 1) concussion basics for youth sports through the CDC Concussion Training CourseNAYS Concussion Training Course, or a similar online course, and 2) a tackle training program on how to remove the head from the tackle such as through Seahawks Tackling.

Players and Parents should receive and be required to sign off and return to the association a concussion fact sheet handout from the CDC or a similar source at the beginning of every season.

  1. Document retention

The local association should maintain documentation of coach training certificates and player/parent fact sheets for 15 years. Note that a 5-year-old child may wait until age 20 in many states before filing a lawsuit for a past injury.

  1. Baseline and post injury neurocognitive testing

This is a rapidly changing area with the emergence of new, lower-cost technologies where baseline and post-injury testing can be delivered on the sidelines through smart phones and tablets. So far, baseline neurocognitive testing is considered to be a voluntary measure in most instances.

  1. Identify suspected cases of concussions

The highest medical authority (M.D., D.O.,  athletic trainer, or person with EMT or Red Cross certification) at a practice or game should make the call in terms of signs observed by parents, guardians, or sports staff and symptoms reported by player. The highest authority must be aware of danger signs that would result in an immediate trip to the emergency room and in questions to ask and exertional maneuvers to perform to identify a potential concussion. Identification of potential concussions is a rapidly evolving area with a number of new tools that have recently hit the market or that will soon be available, such as helmet impact indicators, smart phone/tablet apps for sideline testing of memory and fine motor coordination to compare to baseline results, tablet eye-tracking devices, telemedicine with doctors via smart phones, etc.

  1. Actions to take if a concussion is suspected

Remove the athlete from play, make sure the athlete is evaluated by an M.D. or D.O., inform parents through the CDC fact sheet, and keep the athlete out of play until written return-to-play medical clearance is received from a qualified medical provider. Some state concussion laws allow return-to-play medical clearance by a “health care provider” which may also encompass professionals such as physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners.

  1. Reduce full contact during practices

The Datalys Study by Kerr indicates that limiting contact at practice may reduce concussions in youth tackle football. Governing and sanctioning bodies have started to adopt contact limitation guidelines.

  1. Proper fitting and care of helmets

This has always been and continues to be of critical importance in protecting youth football players from head and neck injuries. A number of online guides and videos are available from helmet manufacturers to assist coaches and equipment managers in this area. A list of these sources can be found on the risk management section of our website.

  1. Compliance with state concussion laws and governing body and sanctioning body requirements or recommendations

Any risk management program should comply with the standards as prescribed by state concussion legislation (this only applies to schools in some states) and governing body (USAFB) and sanctioning body (AYF, Pop Warner) requirements and recommendations.

Based on my 30 years of experience in the sports insurance niche and the potential for brain injury litigation, I would not want to be a board member or staff member involved with a youth tackle football organization that did not have an effective, formally-adopted and fully-implemented written concussion/brain injury risk management program.

Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance has developed a sample concussion/brain injury risk management program for our youth football clients that incorporates the elements listed above and that can be downloaded from our website in WORD document format.

5 Elements of Good Officiating

Navigating conflict resolution in sports

It may seem ironic to have a discussion on conflict resolution in sports when sports are by their nature all about opposition. But sports officials deal with different types of conflict in the course of their duties, most frequently with coaches.  

A coach’s goal is to win. An official’s goal is to mediate fair play. These two goals often result in conflict, especially if a coach’s attitude is to win at all costs. So it’s not surprising that differences of opinion sometimes result in tempers flaring, harsh words being exchanged, and even physical altercations. But officials can approach these conflicts using the following approaches to effectively minimize or resolve clashes.

  1. Professionalism: Presenting yourself as a professional includes your physical appearance and knowledge of the game. Arriving to the event early in a clean uniform is the first step in making a good impression and gaining respect. Knowing the rules is paramount. Officials can be excused for missing a call, but not for misinterpreting or misstating the rules. Coaches, players and spectators know when an official is prepared and working hard on the playing field.
  2. Approachability: While officials are the authority figure, players and coaches need them to be approachable when conflicts arise. Discussions should not be taking place over every call, but valid questions should be allowed to be voiced respectfully, which usually defuses tensions. Coaches who dispute a call typically just want to be heard, since reversals are rare. When agreements can’t be reached, the goal should be to at least agree to disagree so play can resume peacefully. A coach’s perspective of the issue is usually different from an official’s. It can be helpful to listen and let him or her know you understand their point of view, but are guided by the rules (see point 1) and that there are channels for lodging official complaints after the game.
  3. Communication: Approximately 55 percent of the information we communicate is transmitted Sports official insurancenon-verbally, which means we use facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and posture.  A fuming coach may not be saying much, but his or her body language is speaking volumes. Officials should be paying attention to the non-verbal messages being relayed by players and coaches before they boil over and become verbally abusive or even physical in nature. Listen with your ears and your eyes.
  4. Emotional control: Conflicts often result in emotional responses that can even draw in people not directly involved in the issue, such as players and spectators. You can’t control how these people will respond to a situation, but you can control your own response. The responsibility of the official is to calmly settle confrontations, not become embroiled in them. This can be difficult when the official is the target of anger and blame. But counting to 10 before responding can go a long way in keeping things from escalating. Barking orders for coaches to calm down or get off the field or deflecting blame onto a fellow referee (“I didn’t make the call.”) erodes everyone’s respect for your authority and only serves to inflame an already tense situation.
  5. Humor: Poking fun at yourself or the general situation can be an excellent way to break up tension and win people over. It might not resolve the actual issue, but humor is is a universal stress reliever. This doesn’t mean laughing at the coaches or making light of a valid conflict, but laughing with the coaches put you on a level playing field and shows that everyone is doing their best in his or her role.

Many of the tense situations referenced above should never occur in the youth or school sports context if coaches and parents follow the various codes of conduct that are published by governing and sanctioning bodies and similar organizations. Also, the suggested techniques can help to diffuse situations before they boil over. However, the reality is that heated disputes often occur in the sports context. A quick study of the loss runs of our sports insurance clients indicate too many fights and resulting serious injuries and lawsuits between officials and coaches or spectators. The alleged aggressor can either be the official or the coach or spectator.

If the alleged aggressor is the official, such official will likely be seeking General Liability and possibly Accident protection through membership in a national association or coverage for officials under the local league policy. Claims may be unexpectedly denied by the General Liability carrier if the Assault & Battery exclusion is present on the policy. For that reason, we recommend that this exclusion be removed.

Sadler Sports Insurance offers affordable, high quality Accident and General Liability coverage for umpire/referee associations. We offer instant online quote/pay/print for this type of coverage. Please visit our website or call us if you have any questions.


Source: Jimm Paull. “Conflict Resolution and the Basketball Official,” Sportorials. January, 2016.