It is no secret that Canadians take sports seriously. Look how well we did in the Rio Olympics or in the World Cup of Hockey. Almost everyone will participate in a sport or a recreational activity at some point in his or her life. Over the last decade, there has been a significant influx in the number of people starting to live a healthier lifestyle and participating in sports and fitness activities. Health and fitness has transformed from a pastime activity to a lifestyle. As such, the number of training facilities, specialised trainers, teams, manufacturers of sports equipment, retail sports stores, leagues, and associations have all increased dramatically.

Whether you are five years old playing soccer or fifty years old and taking up golf, the health benefits significantly outweigh the possible injury factor. But there is risk involved in any sport that may lead to significant injury:

One in every five kids who is involved with a sport or activity will suffer an injury over the course of a year. That’s about 1.2 million kids who have anything from sprained ankles to more serious injuries like broken bones and concussions. The top three sports that cause injuries for boys are soccer, hockey, and football. For girls, soccer, gymnastics, and dance are the top three culprits. 

I have always loved sports and planned on working in the sports industry in some way or another. It wasn’t until I became an insurance broker that I realised I was able to help sports companies in a different way. No longer did I want to work for them, but rather work with them as their “partner in risk.” I utilised my experience in the sports world to develop Sports Protect—a specialised insurance program designed to manage the specific risks within the various sectors of the sports industry. By doing so, I have worked with various sports companies to identify and manage specific risks, allowing them to focus on reaching their key performance indicators.

Sports industry risks are complex. A sports equipment manufacturer may be interested in product recall while a cheerleading association needs to ensure participants are properly insured during competitions. Sports Protect was developed with specialised insurance products to respond to the entire industry: manufacturers and retailers, teams and associations, and training facilities and sports centres. 

There are several risks that are common across all these industry sectors, or “pillars,” in that they have a product/service risk designed around the participant. Facilities have participants utilising the space, teams and associations are often comprised of several hundred participants, and manufacturers have participants using their products in competition. Participants can range from children to seniors, from at-risk youth to wealthy CEOs, from beginners to professionals. Every company that falls within one of the pillars must ensure that it manages its own unique risk effectively and keep in mind that its participants can land anywhere within a wide range of claim amounts. 

What risks are considered more specific to one pillar over the next?

Like I said earlier, the sports industry is extremely integrated and complex and often never static for long. Through my experience, I have found that many companies intend to focus on operating within one pillar but often cross over to another as their business develops. This is where having the ability to specialise coverage to meet the risks of a company is essential: 

  • Manufacturers and retailers put much of their focus on product and premises liability as well as employee dishonesty. 
  • Teams and associations must ensure that the members, participants, coaches, and volunteers are properly covered (in the event of a first-party injury) through an adequate Participant Accident policy as well as coverage for potential out-of-country competitions. 
  • Training facilities and sports centres should place a great deal of focus on the equipment inside the location to avoid business interruption. For example, ice rinks must pay close attention to the refrigeration unit while swimming pools must maintain pumps and filtration systems. Training facilities and sports centres often combine other pillars into their operations as many facilities have teams that operate out of them as well as have retail stores on location. Some may go as far as having a restaurant on the premise.

Each pillar requires specialised coverage with the flexibility to have a policy designed to meet its specific needs. 

Competitive Mind-Set for Sports Protect 

For companies who fall within the three pillars of the sports business, it is important to approach your associated risks with the mind-set of a participant playing a sport. It does not matter if you are playing baseball, hockey, or soccer, every sport requires you to read and react to every situation within the game. Business risk is no different. You must identify the risk and react to it before it becomes a much larger issue. Sports Protect has been designed with this in mind. Sports Protect is a leading-edge, national insurance program designed to be fluid and ensure you are protected as you react to industry changes and focus on winning your game. 

If your business is in one of these pillars and you feel you need to tune up your game, contact us for more information about Sports Protect. We can discuss what needs to be done to make you game-ready.

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