Archive for the ‘Teams/Leagues’ Category

New App Makes Staffing Athletic Trainers a Breeze

Guest Blogger: Ricky Schwartzberg of Go4Ellis

The Go4Ellis platform efficiently links athletic trainers with sports event operators looking to hire medical professionals for their events. Athletic trainers register for free accounts and set up a professional profile, including proof of licensure, liability insurance, and other legal requirements.  All athletic trainers on Go4Ellis must be members of the National Athletic Training Association. Similarly, event operators can register for accounts and post upcoming work opportunities and pay rates. We currently work with tournament operators, camp directors, athletic directors, club coaches, and leagues in 24 states.

Go4Ellis also handles all the little details around hiring hourly athletic trainers. Payment is fully automated through the platform, so no checks to write and send.  Additionally, Go4Ellis also handles all year-end tax documentation for both athletic trainers and event operators, and auto-generates an emergency action plan for every venue at your event.

Now if you’ve never staffed athletic trainers at your events you may want to re-think that approach.  Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes.

On-site at your event, athletic trainers are trained to save lives, stabilize emergency situations, and make the tough return-to-play decisions for each athlete.  By taking return-to-play decisions away from coaches and tournament directors, athletic trainers provide protection to the player and, by extension, remove liability from the coach, the team and your event.

Go4Ellis makes staffing athletic trainers simple.  No more calling around, posting on a listserv, or using a staffing service with highly marked up rates.  Just set up a free account on Go4Ellis, post the dates and times you need athletic trainers and the hourly rate you are offering, and let athletic trainers come to you.

If you have any questions just email us! – contactus@go4ellis.com

Need an athletic trainer for an upcoming event? Click here for more information or to schedule a demo!

Leading Causes of Sports Lawsuits: Improper Supervision & Instruction

Supervision: It’s more than just keeping an eye on things.

The need for amateur sports administrators to understand their legal responsibilities with regard to supervision and instruction can’t be stressed enough. In the arena of amateur sports, lack of supervision is the most common cause of action in lawsuits. Injuries resulting in these types of lawsuits are typically avoidable if proper supervision occurs. Below are the three most important reasons to stress supervision as a way to avoid legal liability.

  1. Injured people suffer and miss time away from playing the game, school, or work.
  2. If a serious injury occurs, negative media attention can have a significant impact on the success of your sports program.
  3. The loss record of your insurance program must be protected against serious losses to prevent future rate increases.

Supervision in the context of amateur sports is defined as overseeing the activities of the sports program. This includes recognizing potential hazards, implementing risk management measures, and monitoring for compliance. For our purposes, we break supervision down into two categories: general supervision and specific supervision.

General Supervision

The responsibility of general supervision falls on your risk management officer and other administrators (such as officers and board members). It is their duty to oversee the big picture of your risk management Instruction in amateur sportsprogram. They do this by instructing, training, and monitoring staff members on how to carry out their own duties of supervision.

Meeting the standard of care

The basic steps required to be taken under general supervision include appointing a risk management officer and adopting a written risk management plan. We offer templates on our risk management page to help you accomplish this task. Also important is selecting suitable staff and monitoring staff performance of their duties. This means screening staff with applications and background checks. Staff training or certification is key. We recommend seeking out a credible organization such the National Alliance for Youth Sports for such training. An integral part of any risk management plan is being able to document everything you’re doing. This certainly holds true for your policies and procedures regarding supervision.

Specific Supervision

Administrators should consider three basic questions regarding supervision.

  • What is the player to coach/trainer ratio?
  • In which area(s) are coaches/trainers trained and certified, if any?
  • Are policies in place regarding supervision, and if so is there accountability regarding current policy?

The liability risk of any sports program can be reduced greatly if the following guidelines regarding supervision are followed:

Rowdiness: Horseplay and roughhousing of participants and those on the sidelines ends in a great number of senseless and avoidable injuries in youth sports. Injuries can range from a player falling/jumping off bleachers to a teen athlete having an accident in the parking lot while showing off. Nonetheless, it is the coach’s responsibility to properly supervise players and keep them safe. Staff should be aware of this, recognize these activities, and put a stop to them using appropriate means. The first step in doing so is having an adequate number of coaches and staff members present and alert. Getting the buy-in from parents is also key to keeping such behavior to a minimum.

Supervisor-to-Participant Ratio: The ability to adequately observe, instruct, supervise and correct only occurs when an appropriate number of staff supervisors are present at an activity. Arrange ahead of time for sufficient team supervision during practices, games and extracurricular activities.

Supervisor Location: The staff supervisor should always be in close proximity to an activity. This means he or she should be able to personally observe, instruct, supervise and correct. This applies to sports activities and non-sports extracurricular activities, i.e. team outings, backyard cookouts, etc. One example of this type of situation is the drowning of a player who attended a team picnic. Another is children causing damage while climbing on a water fountain at an awards banquet.

Participants Size, Age, and Skill: Never mix participants of various sizes, ages, and skill levels. All too often we’ve seen injuries result when a younger team scrimmages an older team outside of age range. The sports organization should be restricting age range categories and prohibiting any play against outside competition if participants fall outside of these categories. Staff members of individual teams should not match players of different skill levels or sizes in dangerous drills. And staff should, of course, never personally injure participants during practice instruction.

Instruction

Instruction goes hand-in-hand with supervision because the instructor is a supervisor. Many sports organization require formal training for their coaches through organizations such as the National Alliance For Youth Sports. The training covers general topics that are common to all coaches such as the psychological needs of youth and how to respond to injuries as well as a sport specific segment. Such training can also be required by state legislative law and by municipalities as a pre condition of being able to use the fields. Such formal programs may satisfy the legal requirement for instruction training. Again, following the guidelines below greatly reduces the risk of liability.

Sport-specific techniques

Administrators should require coaches to follow best-accepted practices for teaching sport-related techniques. Coaches should receive continuing education on the latest techniques on how to run a practice and how to teach technical skills.

Put particular emphasis on the more hazardous areas of the specific sport. For example, the position of the player’s head during a tackle is a fundamental area of instruction. Likewise, in baseball/softball, it’s critical that athletes are taught the proper method for avoiding a wild pitch or how to slide  into a base.

Review of Safety Rules and Procedures

The governing/sanctioning body or sports organization should require a pre-season a review by administrators and staff of any rule changes. Likewise, a review of rules and policies with players should take place before every season and a review of specific rules prior to every practice and game.

Observations

The vast majority of lawsuits filed against clients of Sadler sports and recreation insurance allege lack of supervision and instruction. The alleged negligence is both at the administrator level due to lack of planning/oversight and the staff level as well. In particular, we have seen a number of serious injuries and resulting lawsuits arise from mixing participants of different sizes, ages, and skill levels.

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

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

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

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

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

What are the risks?

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

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

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

Where the problem begins

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

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

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

Adequate sports insurance checklistProtect yourself with our Insurance Coverage Checklists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excess Accident Insurance

The first line of defense against lawsuits 

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

How Excess Accident Insurance coordinates with family health insurance

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

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

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

Uncovered medical bills = lawsuits looking for deep pocket

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

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

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

What if Excess Accident insurance is too expensive?

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

Different types of deductibles: corridor and disappearing

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

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

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

New Sports Interruption Insurance Policy for Registration Refunds

Customized for elite/travel leagues and teams with expensive registration fees

Elite baseball teams and leaguesSadler Sports and Recreation Insurance announces the development of a new insurance program with an A+ rated carrier for Sports Interruption Insurance. This program is customized to meet the needs of amateur elite/travel teams and any other teams with expensive registration fees.

Solves a common problem for both parents and the sports organization

Sports Interruption Insurance solves a common problem experienced by both teams/leagues and participants/parents. Registration fees can be expensive for elite/travel teams with registration fees commonly ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. The team/leagues can’t afford to refund registration fees as they count on them to run their operations on an ongoing basis, not to mention the agonizing hardship requests. Participants/parents may be hesitant to pay expensive registration fees due to the risk of missing a large part of the season due to injury or illness.

 

Surprisingly affordable with rates as low as 1% to 2% of registration fees

Sports Interruption Insurance provides a surprisingly affordable solution. Teams/leagues can load their registration fees by as little as 1% to 2% for normal risk sports in order to pay the insurance premiums for this critical protection. Participants/parents will barely notice a 1% to 2% increase and this will solve a significant problem. It will also provide sports organizations with a competitive advantage over other organizations that don’t offer this vital protection.

Claim example illustrates the payout potential

Travel and Elite soccer trams

This claim example for an injury where a participant misses part of the season will help you see the payout potential.

A soccer participant suffers a severe ankle sprain and is under the care of a doctor who provides a medical clearance to return after 45 days. The registration period is from August 1 to December 1 (122-day season). The injury occurs on August 15 and the participant returns on September 29 for an absence of 45 days. The registration fees are $2,500 and non refundable. Sports Interruption Insurance will pay as follows:

Days absent (45) ÷  days in registration period (122) X registration fees ($2,500) = $922.

Available for specified sports in all but six states

Rates are currently available for the following sports:

  • basketball
  • baseball
  • cheerleading
  • tackle football
  • ice hockey
  • lacrosse
  • softball
  • soccer

Rates vary per sport per age group and whether accident only or accident and sickness coverage is purchased.  The program is currently available in all states except Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington.

Simple online quick quote and enrollment process

As usual, our quote and application process is simple. The only information required on the one-page self-rating form is the sport, age group, season start and end dates, total number of participants, registration fee per participant, coverage option chosen, and rate from rate chart.

For more information and to get a quick quote, visit our Sports Interruption Insurance page.

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.

Top 5 Sports Risks Resulting in Insurance Claims

You need to know them to try to prevent them, but sports insurance still a must

Accidents can happen any time, to anyone, on and off the sports field. Many aren’t even related to playing the sport itself, and many result in serious injuries. Many can be prevented with a little attention to hot spots and putting into place proven risk management policies. However, others are just part of the game.

We take pride in offering our clients risk management advice in an effort to prevent claims.

We hope you’ll be able to avoid making the top 5 list:

  1. Wayward balls cause more claims for damages and injuries than anything else in sports. Baseballs in particular are high-speed missiles that slam into players, dugouts, spectators, cars, windows, and anything else in their path. Wild pitches, overthrown lacrosse balls and basketballs, and baseballs hit out of the park are only some of ways balls cause injuries. A real horror story to a client occurred when an assistant coach was struck in the face by a pitched baseball while warming up the pitcher. He later lapsed into a coma and died of  injuries, which resulted in total claims of $1,001,000.
  2. Falls by players, coaches, spectators, groundskeepers and officials are by far the most common sports injury. Holes in the field, slippery or wet surfaces, obstacles in or around the field, bases, field markers, and equipment cause people to fall. Falls from bleachers, benches, ladders, playground equipment, backstops, and goals are also common. Broken, sprained or twisted limbs can result in expensive medical bills and even time off work. Falls can even result result in death.  One of our baseball leagues had a claim that settled for $41,781 when a spectator fractured both ankles after stepping in a washed out grassy area of a ballpark.
  3. Vehicles of all sorts are involved in numerous sports-related claims. Many can be avoided if parking and traffic signage is displayed properly. Delivery trucks backing into concession stands, golf carts and riding mowers overturning, tents and awnings collapsing on vehicles, tractors hitting parked cars, vandalism, and balls flying through windshields are common incidents at the ballpark. One of our baseball leagues experienced a claim when a person was injured by being pinned between a scoreboard table and golf cart with a resulting settlement of $50,000.
  4. Roughhousing and unsupervised children often cause all sorts of mayhem. Playing or climbing on goals, vehicles, bleachers, gates and fences frequently ends in injuries. This includes unattended children in play areas, near water, or in wooded areas of the park. It’s also not unusual for players to swing bats or toss/kick balls in areas where others can be hurt, such as concession areas, parking lots and near bleachers. And in heated competitions, it’s not unusual for fights to break out among spectators or between players on the field. An example of this type of claim was when one of our local league clients was sued as a result of children climbing on a statue at an awards banquet, which caused $4,789 in damage to Sports insurance claimsa water fountain.
  5. Player collisions with other players, spectators and equipment occur frequently. Baseball, soccer, football, and basketball players also collide with one another on the field, often resulting in concussions, fractured limbs, and other injuries. Basketball and football players often crash into spectators on the sidelines. And it’s not unusual that players collide with teammates and coaches on the bench, down markers, goals, and bleachers. One of our clients had a situation where a youth football player was driven into a 1st down marker and fractured his arm. The insurance settlement was $75,000.

Always expect the unexpected

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accidents that can happen in and around sports. The examples listed on this page are expected to occur with some frequency. However, it’s often the unexpected types of claims that result in some of the largest payouts. You just never know what can happen and that’s why you must have quality sports insurance. We have a whole list of horror stories about what can go wrong on our risk management page, which also includes lots of free risk management material.

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Benching of Youth Participants and Resulting Lawsuits

Parents who pay want their child to play

It’s not yet what you’d call a trend, but there’s certainly an uptick in the number of parents filing lawsuits to get their child off the bench and onto the playing field.

Parents put out big bucks in registrations fees, equipment and travel costs associated with high school and youth club and travel teams, to say nothing of the time they invest attending practices and traveling to games. Many parents sacrifice their time and money for their children hoping to get the attention of college coaches, earn scholarships, and improve chances of college admissions – or even advance a professional athletic career. So, it’s understandable that some are dissatisfied when their child rides the bench more than he or she plays. In other words, they expect a payoff for their investment.

There is also an increase in lawsuits by parents of children who have been cut from teams, injured, disciplined by coaches or penalized by officials. But is hiring an attorney the answer? Many are questioning not only the attitude of entitlement, but how the children, who generally play for the fun and camaraderie, are affected by such lawsuits. What are the children learning when parents step in so heavily handed to smooth the way? Will they learn they’re entitled to play on a team simply because they attend practice? And are parents setting these athletes up to be bullied by other team members?

The increasingly competitive nature of youth sports has helped shift many parents’ focus from fun, exercise and sportsmanship to an investment in their children’s academic and professional futures. Youth sports officials are watching the case of a 16-year-old volleyball player. The girl earned spot on a volleyball league but ended up on the bench, so her parents filed suit against the volleyball association, alleging it won’t let the girl play or to switch teams, per the contract she signed.

General Liability policies, which typically only respond to certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury or property damage, don’t cover these types of lawsuits that allege loss of college scholarship or loss of pro career. Such lawsuits generally require a Professional Liability endorsement on a General Liability policy or a stand alone Professional Liability policy.


Source: Tracey Schelmetic, sportsdestinations.com, 21 Apr. 2015.

Boundary Dispute Fells Little League Champs

When adults cheat, it’s the kids who pay

Fraud and cheating occur too frequently in government, business, education, mediaand, sadly, even youth sports organizations.

Little League stripped the Jackie Robinson West team of its U.S. championship and suspended its coach for violating the league’s team boundary rule. In what can only be called a team-building effort, team officials altered a league map that determines the areas from which players can be recruited.

In addition to the team being relieved of its international tournament wins, the team manager was suspended the administrator of Illinois District 4 was removed. But it was the players, who were unaware of the team’s manipulation, who paid the highest price. Mountain Ridge Little League was awarded the championship.

It was an agonizing decision but critical in upholding the integrity of Little League, according to Stephen Keener, Little League International president and CEO.

Over the past 10 years, a number of Sadler Sports Insurance sports league clients were sued over boundary disputes involving the eligibility of a particular player (usually a superstar). Disqualification of an ineligible player by a sanctioning body prior to a tournament can result in a legal challenge for injunctive relief asking to halt the tournament until the judge can rule on eligibility. Due to the legal expenses and inconvenience involved, it is recommended that sanctioning bodies have tight boundary rules that are not subject to alternate interpretations. And, of course, they must always follow their own rules when making a decision.

Source: Tom Farrey, “Little League punishes Chicago team,” espn.go.com. 11 Feb. 2015.

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”.