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Knowledge Center Items Equipping Indoor Sports Facilities with the Right Liability Coverages

Equipping Indoor Sports Facilities with the Right Liability Coverages

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There are many different types of indoor sports facilities including “turf and court” facilities where sports such as soccer, lacrosse, basketball and baseball are played under a hard roof. RPS Bollinger specializes in providing tailored Liability insurance to this niche sector. AJ Morgan, Area Executive Vice President at RPS Bollinger Sports & Leisure, explains the type of risks these particular types of indoor sports facilities face and the unique program RPS offers for agents and brokers to provide to their clients.

“There is a growing trend among those with a sports background – former players or coaches and those who just love sports – to parlay their experience into a business that provides an indoor facility for training, camps, clinics and competition,” explained Morgan. “There are thousands of these types of facilities throughout the country and, what was once perhaps a place for seasonal activity (winter in the East Coast; summer in the South where temperatures are high), has grown to a year-round place for kids, adults and families to participate in before and after-school activities and practices, train, hold parties, and compete,” he said. “For an indoor facility to be successful, it has to be filled from morning to night.”

Also important to the success of a facility is ensuring its insurance program is responsive to the risks it faces. “Many facility owners don’t realize the extent of their legal liability exposure when it comes to participants, or they mistakenly believe they are covered under their General Liability policy, a BOP or Accident insurance,” noted Morgan.  Indeed, this isn’t the case: In fact, most General Liability policies exclude liability claims made by sports participants.

“If a participant is injured at the facility and claims the injury is due to the facility owner’s negligence, without Participants Legal Liability coverage as part of the General Liability policy, the insured would not be covered in the event of a lawsuit,” Morgan explained. “RPS includes Participants Legal Liability insurance with our General Liability policy – hard-to-come-by coverage and what distinguishes our program from others.”

Participants Legal Liability insurance responds to accusations of liability by an injured sports participant. For example, let’s say a child runs into a dasher board while playing indoor soccer and is injured and the parents claim that the owner was negligent because of the location of the board. Or, let’s say a child cuts his finger on the bleachers while attending a birthday party and the parents allege that there was no supervision at the party. Or, an adult has an ACL injury while playing baseball and claims the injury is as a result of the seam in the turf. Without Participants Legal Liability coverage, there would be no coverage in any of these cases to cover the legal costs and any settlements and judgments.

“This coverage is designed to protect the owner for his/her legal liability in the event of allegations of negligence by participants who are injured. It doesn’t cover medical expenses for the injury – this would be covered under an Accident policy, which we can also provide,” said Morgan.

RPS Bollinger’s General Liability program for indoor sports facilities also provides Spectators Liability and Abuse & Molestation insurance, an important coverage component when working with children. “Some carriers have stopped offering Abuse & Molestation coverage altogether,” explained Morgan, “while others offer sub-limits that significantly diminish the amount of coverage available. We offer this coverage with strong risk management requirements. The insured must agree to perform employee background checks and have preventive policies in place. The better run the facility and the more rules that are enforced, the more attractive the facility is to an underwriter.”

The program offers limits of up to $10 million with most facilities purchasing between $1 million and $5 million of coverage. Coverage is on an admitted basis and available nationally. “It’s a true sports program,” said Morgan. “If the facility fits our program, it will get a lot of coverage at a competitive price.”

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