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 mistake 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.
Protect 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.