Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Do Leagues Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The important question you need to ask and we help answer

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

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

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

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

Liability for injuries to unpaid workers

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

Liability or injuries to paid employees

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

Liability for injuries to subcontractor workers

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

Liability and penalties for failure to carry required Workers’ Compensation

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

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

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



2018 Insurance Program Released for American Youth Football

AYFThe gold standard that is the envy of the competition

The American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports Insurance, released the new 2018 insurance program for teams /associations /conferences on May 15, 2018.

The 2018 offering is, once again, the gold standard in youth football and cheer insurance with an unbeatable combination of low rates, broad custom coverages, and best-in-industry automation that allows instant online enrollment and issuance of proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. But that’s not all: the program also provides best-in-industry risk management resources to prevent injuries before they become claims and groundbreaking studies on safety in youth football and cheer.

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

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

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

Competitors take major rate increases

Most of our competitors have taken major increases over the past several years due to concussion litigation as well as other losses. However, our program remains stable with an average 2018 rate increase on the Accident/General Liability of only 3%. We will have no rate increase on our D&O, Crime, and Equipment policies.

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

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

Check out our new risk management reports

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

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

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

SafeSport Child Abuse And Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan We developed this risk management awareness program for our leagues to help them comply with the new Safe Sport Act standards.

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

Best-in-industry risk management resources (free)

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

Be a part of groundbreaking injury studies

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

Get Quote Now

Please visit our webpage at or call us at 800-622-7370 if you have any questions.


John Sadler Quoted in Rough Notes Magazine

 When Rough Notes magazine wants to inform the insurance agent subscribers on the current state of sports insurance industry, they interview leading voices in the sports insurance niches. John Sadler is is one of those voices. You can read the  recent article in which Sadler comments on the following issues impacting the market:

  • Impact of economic downturn on sports registrations
  • Increase in volunteer theft and embezzlement
  • Sandusky impact on coverage for sex abuse and molestation
  • Impact of repeat concussions and less than concussion events
  • Need for efficiency in processing sports insurance transactions
  • Need for simple risk management tools to reduce injuries and lawsuits

Source: Rough Notes Magazine, April 2012