John Graden:  Hi everybody I’m John Graden again with Jennifer Urmston from the Sports John Graden:  We are talking in mid-November, the holiday seasons are coming up, that brings additional fun and it also brings some additional liability.  Help our Members understand what liabilities they may be facing and what precautions they need to take.

Jennifer Urmston: Well with the Holidays two different things come to mind for me, first of all you could have Kids out of School coming in and spending time in your martial arts facility with some special Holiday Day Camps or Special Programs, so you want to make sure that you communicated to your Insurance Agent, that you have a martial arts Day Camp going on or a weeklong Camp going on while the Kids are out of School and make sure that you, you know, are including those new Students, if they are new Students in your Student count so that you’re covered.

John Graden:  Can I pause there just for a second, that’s a great point.  So, what I’m hearing is that whenever you’re doing an event or any kind of special anything, it’s a good idea to give your Agent a call just to make sure you’re recovered.

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Jennifer Urmston: Absolutely. Unless you did it the previous year and it’s already included in there.  It’s a great opportunity for you to get new members to your ongoing classes to advertise – ‘Hey! the Kids are out of School these two weeks, we’re offering these three or four Day Camps, let your Kids come and spend the day with us and try out our Programs or learn from other Kids that are there.’  It’s a great opportunity for the School to make more revenue and maybe bring in some Kids that aren’t normally in the Program, but anytime you do something that’s special that’s with folks who are not your normal members, you want to make sure that you’ve communicated that to your Insurance Agent.

Now if you’re just going to have a Christmas Party for your own Members, a sort of appreciation night and maybe do some exhibitions for some of the Kids or some of the Adults.  That is not something that you need to worry about communicating to your Agent, because those are your regular Members coming in, maybe on a special night.  If, however, you were going to serve any kind of alcoholic beverages then you’d want to communicate with your Agent and make sure you have coverage for Host Liquor on your policy.

Now in Schools with Kids, I don’t see that being requested very often, but if you have a Christmas Party and its just regular food and beverage and maybe some demonstration and you know, saying thank you and Happy Holidays to your Members, that you’re covered for.  So, the other thing that jumps to my mind outside of these special events and activities and parties that you might hold would be the holiday weather.

As the weather starts to get worse in some parts of the Country and November, December, January, and you have Snow and Ice, you want to make sure that’s being cleared off your sidewalks and out of your Parking Lot.  Make the extra phone call to you Landlord if necessary because you don’t want your Members tripping and falling.  Most Martial Arts Schools and Studios are required to provide their Landlord with a Certificate of Insurance so that they’re responsible for their own members walking on those sidewalks, but you may not be responsible for clearing the ice and snow yourself, that’s probably up to the Landlord.  So, stay on top of making sure the Landlord’s getting your facility safe for your Members to enter and exit.

John Graden:  Well that leads us really to the next question and that is, some of these Guys, especially when they are just starting out and money is tight, they are hoping that their Landlord has Basic Liability or they even think their Homeowners Insurance is going to help them in cases of a claim like you’ve just described.  Talk to us about them, how that falls short of Participation Liability or per Event Liability.

Jennifer Urmston: Well on a Commercial General Liability Policy tailored for your Martial Arts School or your Martial Arts Studio, your coverage is much, much, broader, than what would be provided under Public Liability that your Landlord may have for people coming and going from a facility and now, that again, that’s with the understanding that your Landlord hasn’t required you, as part of signing the lease to provide proof of your Insurance for him.

If you are new to the Business and your Landlord hasn’t required you to get the Insurance and you haven’t got any Insurance and you’re just hoping that the Landlord’s Public Liability Insurance is going to cover you.  The limit to that Public Liability Insurance is probably slipping and falling on the premises, tripping over the door entry, a hole in the Parking Lot, something out on the sidewalk, it’s not going to have any coverage for your profession as a Martial Artist in what you’re teaching your Students.

It wouldn’t have any coverage for the Personal Injury that your Students could claim, or any Advertising Injury that your Students could claim or any sexual abuse or molestation that your Students can claim.  So, it’s not a good idea at all to rely on the Public Liability Insurance of a Landlord.  Now your Homeowners Insurance, is usually is not going to cover you for Business that’s conducted off-site.

John Graden:  Pretty much period.

Jennifer Urmston: Period. So, you would just, you would most likely have no coverage there if a claim was turned in.

John Graden:  I’m going to wrap this up with us going back to the Party.

Jennifer Urmston: Okay.

John Graden:  If you’re in a situation, not so much weather-related, but let’s say you are serving some Wine and Drinks because the Parents are there, that happens and someone has an accident on the way home. Obviously, anyone can sue anyone that’s clear, but would, does that type of scenario need to be written specifically into a Policy or in most cases is that covered in the General Liability.

Jennifer Urmston: Some General Liability Policies will have Host Liquor included.  Which is you’re serving it at a Party or someone’s bringing their own, but you’re not selling it.  So, what you have to do is make sure your General Liability Policy that you own on your School, includes Host Liquor.  That’s why it’s worth a phone call before the Christmas Party to your Insurance Agent, if you haven’t already checked on that before because it’s not a given that it will be on there, but it can be on there.  So, you just need to ask.

John Graden:  And that is a good place to stop.  It’s been very interesting, the holidays are coming up, there are a lot of things that I certainly did not consider and I certainly hope that our Members are going to take full advantage of this information.  Please check out our Insurance Page and visit Sports and Fitness Insurance Corporation with Jennifer Urmston, thanks again, so much.


John Graden
John Graden

John Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern age. He is the founder of the first successful professional association and trade journal. MA Success editor John Corcoran first called him a “visionary” in 1995. Martial Arts World magazine dubbed him, The Teacher of Teachers. Mr. Graden’s leadership was recognized in many mainstream media outlets including a cover story on the Wall Street Journal, documentaries on A&E Network, and as a guest on the Dr. Oz Show and many others.