Archive for the ‘Sports Tournaments’ Category

Managing Risks to Participants and Spectators at Special Events

Precautions that help keep sports and recreation events fun for everyone

Community calendars are full of local organizations sponsoring tournaments, festivals, outdoor fundraisers, races, craft fairs and more. You’ll likely attend at least one yourself in any given season.

Event organizers are responsible for the safety and security of attendees, participants and vendors. That even includes, in some cases, their property. Weather is one risk that can’t be controlled, but other potential risks can be mitigated.

A lot can wrong and event organizers need to develop a risk management plan long before the event takes place. First-time planners should realize this is as important as planning the venue, advertising, catering, entertainment and other aspects of an event. Of course, everyday incident types can occur, like a collapsed tent or injured runner. But terrorist attacks and active shooters at public venues in recent years have drastically changed security protocols for public events.

Tips for mitigating the risks

Every event takes preparation and each step offers opportunities to consider what could go wrong and how to prevent it. We offer these general steps for lowering the risk of injuries.

  • Law Enforcement and Fire Department: Police presence at the event, in parking lots and directing traffic improves security drastically. Consider requesting bomb-sniffing K-9 units. The fire department should be notified well in advance of the event.
  • Registrant/Vendor Check-in: Participants should provide a photo I.D. at registration to receive their packets/T-shirts/bibs. Vendors should also provide proof they are contracted to be at the event.
  • Baggage Check: Consider making a policy that guests can only bring in clear plastic bags.  Otherwise, set a limit on the size and number of bags, totes, or backpacks attendees may carry in.
  • First Aid and Safety Station: Post clearly visible signs designating the location of the first-aid and customer relations station. Arrange for an ambulance and EMTs be present for the duration of the event. There should be a physician, athletic trainer and/or registered nurse in attendance at any sporting event.
  • Volunteer Staff: Station volunteers (wearing event T-shirts, hats or armbands) throughout the venue, including parking areas, to monitor the crowds, assist attendees, answer questions, and direct the flow of automobile and pedestrian traffic

Every event is different, and the security measure you put in place depend on  its size, venue, attendance and other factors. And while some will stretch your budget, you’re not saving anything by taking unnecessary risks.

For further information, we have several articles related to reducing the risk of liability and injuries at special events. We can also provide a quick quote for tournament insurance and non-sporting events.


Source: William Dyson. “Safe and Secure: How to Protect Your Event, Your Athletes and Your Spectators.” sportsdestination.com 07 Sep, 2018.

Managing Risks to Participants and Spectators at Special Events

Precautions can save lives and lawsuits

Community calendars are full of local organizations sponsoring tournaments, festivals, outdoor fundraisers, races, craft fairs and more. You’ll likely attend at least one yourself in any given season.

Those putting on such events are responsible for the safety and security of attendees, participants and vendors. That even includes, in some cases, their property. Weather is one risk that can’t be controlled, but Special event risk managementother potential risks can be mitigated.

Event organizers need to develop a risk management plan long before the event takes place. First-time planners should realize this is as important as planning the venue, advertising, catering, entertainment and other aspects of an event. There are everyday incident types that can occur, like a collapsed tent or injured runner. But terrorist attacks and active shooters at public venues in recent years drastically changed security protocols for public events.

A lot can go wrong

Every event requires preparation, of course. And each step offers opportunities to consider what could go wrong and how to prevent it. Below are some general steps that can be taken to lower the risk of injuries.

  • Law Enforcement and Fire Department: Police presence at the event, in parking lots and directing traffic improves security drastically. Consider requesting bomb-sniffing K-9 units. Notify the fire department well in advance of the event.
  • Registrant/Vendor Check-in: Require participants to provide a photo I.D. at registration to receive their packets/T-shirts/bibs. Vendors should also provide proof they are contracted to be at the event.
  • Baggage Check: Consider making a policy that guests can only bring in clear plastic bags. Otherwise, set a limit on the size and number of bags, totes, or backpacks attendees may carry in.
  • First Aid and Safety Station: Post clearly visible signs designating the location of the first-aid and customer relations stations. Arrange for an ambulance and EMTs to be present for the duration of the event. We recommend that a physician, athletic trainer and/or registered nurse be in attendance at any sporting event.
  • Volunteer Staff: Station your volunteers (wearing event T-shirts, hats or armbands) throughout the venue. This includes parking areas, to monitor the crowds, assist attendees, answer questions, and direct the flow of automobile and pedestrian traffic

Special Events Game Changers

We all know about game changers. Sometimes it’s a certain player, a momentum swing, the venue or fans. Other times it’s an event that makes us stop and rethink our views on one particular topic or another. The bombings at 2013 Boston Marathon qualify as a game changer.

It’s often a catastrophe that makes us re-evaluate our priorities. The Boston Bombings forced us to address our personal safety and the safety of participants at sporting events.

Increasing event security

In attempts to strengthen event security at its football games, the NFL banned spectators from bringing in purses, coolers, backpacks and other miscellany. Some view this as overkill. Others view it as the natural evolution in the continual ramp up of security measures in a volatile setting.

The tech revolution

The technology boom is also helping to strengthen event security. While closed-circuit television is still the Event securityindustry’s main method, the use of cellphones proves the most beneficial in enforcing safety regulations at sporting events. And not just among event staff. Many venues advertise a number for spectators to text or call if other patrons become unruly or are acting suspiciously.

And did you know there are apps available for reporting security issues? Fans may now anonymously submit complaints/observations using ISS 24/7 (or other) software. Game changer!

In addition to security hotlines, social media helps monitor patrons at sporting events. People love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many sports teams and event management companies use these tools to their advantage. They post on their accounts to spread the word of inclement weather, evacuation notices and other pertinent information.

Smartphones are good for more than just checking your Twitter feed. They are also important in documenting fan behavior at games, both good and bad.  In a world where anyone can be famous on the Internet, staying on your best behavior can mean the difference between YouTube fame and infamy.

Special Events May Require Special Coverage

Every event is different, and safety should be priority No. 1. The security measure you put in place depends on its size, venue, attendance and other factors. And while some will stretch your budget, you’re not saving anything by taking unnecessary risks.

There is one element of the planning stage that should never be overlooked. Determining whether your insurance program includes the coverage needed for a safe event for everyone involved. That includes the hosts, participants, volunteers, vendors and guests.

There are risks involved in hosting and managing special events that may require either added short-term or annual coverage. Check with your agent about the following areas that require particular attention as you plan your event.

Vendors

Vendors can include caterers, tent and equipment rentals, concessions, security, and parking attendants. Sports risk managmentResearch your vendors thoroughly because poor service or a mishap on their part can spoil an entire event. Think of the potential consequences of a collapsed tent or food poisoning. It’s critical that each of your vendors provide you with a valid certificate of insurance evidencing General Liability with a limit of at least $1 million each occurrence. Require that they can add your organization as an additional insured on their policy.

Venues

It’s not unheard of for the actual venue of an event to be a factor that causes an accident or injury claim. Stages collapse, fire exits get blocked, and severe weather sometimes triggers the need for fast evacuations. The more knowledge you have about the number of people attending the event, the electrical equipment needed, and potential for severe weather, the better prepared you will be. For indoor events, make sure you know the emergency protocols of the building. This includes knowing where all the fire extinguishers, exits and stairwells are located. For outdoor events, be sure the terrain and any light/sound rigging are properly installed. Monitor the weather in the days leading up to the event as well as during the event – storms can pop up unexpectedly with disastrous results. Weather apps for smartphones alert you to severe weather watches and warnings.

Emergency Planning

Every event should have a unique emergency plan that all staff and volunteers receive and sign confirming they have read it. The emergency plan should include who has the authority to shut the event down or ask a vendor to vacate. Sudden storms, a shooter in the area, or a vendor with a lapsed permit are only a few examples of when someone may need to make an on-the-spot decision.  The emergency plan should also include a protocol for announcing a closing or changes in the event programming. It goes without saying that all event staff and volunteers should be familiar with the event emergency plan, to include medical Security at special eventsemergencies, lost children, crime and severe weather.

Security

Security often tends to get overlooked because it doesn’t generate income. But consider security an investment that reduces your risk of liability, which is just as good or even better than income. These security tips help make for a much safer event for everyone involved.

  • Volunteers are a great resource. But don’t use them for security enforcement purposes, such as dealing with unruly people, enforcing parking or alcohol regulations, or providing first aid. It’s best to have trained medical and law enforcement professionals handling these duties.
  • Using teachers, senior/varsity athletes and other community leaders is also not a good idea when it comes to maintaining order in the crowd. These temporary-authority figures aren’t always respected by others when they’re out of their element.
  • If you pay for professional security, don’t scrimp. Going with the cheapest security service may not be your wisest decision. Are their employees simply hired staff or trained personnel? Ask what types of sports events and what size crowds they can handle. Ask for examples of situations they managed to control and get references.

Sadler offers Special Event insurance and one of our insurance experts would be happy to help you determine what coverage your event needs.

And further information we have several articles related to reducing the risk of liability and injuries at special events. We can also provide a quick quote for tournament insurance and non-sporting events or you can contact us or call at (800) 622-7370.


Sources:
  • William Dyson. “Safe and Secure: How to Protect Your Event, Your Athletes and Your Spectators.” sportsdestination.com 07 Sept., 2018.
  • Kelly Martin,  “Safety and Security: Changing your game for the better,” Sports Destination Management. Sept./Oct. 2013.

Excess Accident Insurance

The first line of defense against lawsuits 

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

How Excess Accident Insurance coordinates with family health insurance

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

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

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

Uncovered medical bills = lawsuits looking for deep pocket

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

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

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

What if Excess Accident insurance is too expensive?

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

Different types of deductibles: corridor and disappearing

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

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

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

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.

Sadler Featured in Sports Trade Magazine

The January/February 2017 issue of Sports Destination Management’s bimonthly magazine features John Sadler’s article, “Insurance Basics: What You Need to Know.”  SDM is a trade magazine for sports event managers and organizers.

In the article, Sadler explains why it’s important to address insurance needs while planning tournaments and other sporting events. In his over 25 years in the sports insurance industry, Sadler has seen many tournament hosts rely almost entirely on their own sports insurance for protection. Too many of these hosts are unknowledgeable about or neglect the importance of contractual transfer, which is transferring the risk of loss and/or the responsibility to pay for loss to the other party in the contract.

Sadler points out, however, that contractual transfer doesn’t replace tournament hosts’ needs for their own insurance and lists the reasons why.

The article also discusses at length the most common contractual transfer tools, such as liability waivers/releases and indemnification/hold harmless provisions.

Also covered in the article are insurance requirements for teams participating in tournaments and the importance of specifying the areas of responsibility for both the tournament host and the participating team in terms of operational control. Sadler stresses that a well-drafted provision in the tournament host agreement can be helpful to clarify which party has operational control and resulting liability.

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.

When Youth Sports Teams Move Up One Year

Is it safe in all age categories?

What liability exposure exists for administrators and coaches who allow a younger sports team to play up in an older age category? That question was asked by a visitor to our website:
“I am struggling with a team playing up a year in age U12 Boys moving to U13 Boys in soccer. What are your thoughts? And do you know of any lawsuits. I am on the board and I want to be able to answer any questions.”
 
We invited a guest expert to respond to that for us. Gil Fried is an attorney and professor at the University of New Haven who provided the following answer:
“I am not familiar with any lawsuits from a younger group moving up one age category.  If they moved up several years the proportional difference in skill and size could open a door to liability.  Since the potential for in jury exists at all soccer levels, I would suggest that the children in the 12-year-old group and their parents be sent a letter indicating the potential concern that since younger kids are playing against older kids there could be a chance for injuries. The letter should be clear and allow parents to pull their child if they are concerned without any retribution.”
 

Hotel Safety: Teams Traveling Overnight (Infographic)

Protecting athletes and staff from sex abuse/molestation incidents

 All parents have the expectation that youth sports organizations provide a safe and fun environment for the athletes. Any organization that supervises kids has a clear mandate to incorporate policies to prevent injuries of any kind. Child abuse and molestation can take place anywhere, and any program where adults supervise children is fertile ground for predators.

Most child predators are “groomers” as opposed to “grabbers” and it’s their modus operandi to earn the  trust of the child and parents prior to any abuse taking place. They create an emotional bond with the child, which works to prevent the child from reporting incidents. Youth sports programs are prime targets for perpetrators of these crimes.

Extra precautions need taken when youth sports teams travel out of town overnight for tournaments and camps. Below are basic tips to help protect young athletes from adults who intend to do them harm, and minimize the risk of coaches and chaperones being accused of improper or criminal behavior toward the children.

Hotel safety

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Please visit our Risk Management page for more sports tips and safety information.

Protecting your team and league from liability claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all teams and leagues? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Getting the right insurance coverage does not have to be complicated if you work with an agency like SADLER. The insurance experts at SADLER understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

To learn more about liability prevention or get a customized insurance quote, you can apply online right now or call us at 1-800-622-7370. There are no obligations. Most quotes are sent in just a few hours. Since there no application fees and we offer the most competitive rates in the industry, what do you have to lose?

Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for Leagues/Associations

When a General Liability policy isn’t enough

Directors & Officers Liability insurance for sports organizations covers certain types of lawsuits that are not covered by the more common and better known General Liability policy. General Liability covers certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury.  Directors & Officers Liability typically covers the following broad classes of lawsuits:

  • Discrimination based on race, sex, age, or disability
  • Wrongful suspension or termination of league personnel or players
  • Failure to follow own rules or bylaws when making an administrative decision
  • Violation of rights of others under constitutional, federal, or state law
  • Financial mismanagement

The Directors & Officers Liability policy pays covered legal defense costs. It also pays up to the policy limit in the event of settlement or adverse jury verdict.

Over the past 10 years, the types of claims that are potentially covered by the Directors & Officers Liability policy have increased dramatically as the public has become more litigious. The most common categories of lawsuits include disability discrimination under the Americans With Disability Act (ADA), player eligibility disputes, and league administrators not following their own rules or bylaws when making decisions. We have also seen claims involving breach of contract (usually excluded by most policy forms), race discrimination, violation of expression of religious freedom, failure to make all-star team, improper coaching resulting in loss of college scholarship, violation of Sherman Anti-Trust/Restraint of Trade, internal board disputes (usually excluded by most policy forms), injunctive relief to halt a tournament due to player eligibility issues (often not covered by most policy forms), etc.

The Directors & Officers policy form varies greatly from one carrier to the next. As a result, a detailed review is required to uncover dangerous exclusions that would take away essential coverages. Some important policy provisions include employment practices liability and 3rd-party liability, including discrimination. Unfortunately, most insurance agents are not competent in this area. The insurance experts at SADLER SPORTS & RECREATION INSURANCE can easily guide you through such a review.

Call us today at (800) 622-7370.