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Insurance for Your Summer Camp.


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Get Certified as a Martial Arts Instructor Online

MATA Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course

Module 21-The Proper Use of Student Instructors

by Scot Conway, Esquire

The $25,000 Volunteers

Excerpt from the Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course:

Using upper ranks to teach classes has been a long-standing martial arts tradition. But, is it legal?

A California instructor had his black belts teaching under-rank classes at his studio. In exchange, he no longer charged them tuition.

This continued until one fateful day when the owner and a black belt student had a disagreement.

The vindictive student contacted the California Labor Board and reported that his instructor had been employing assistants by requiring that they teach classes each week.

This can constitute an Employer – Worker relationship. The only thing missing was payment for the workers and the taxes the government would collect if they were being paid.

The State of California investigators concluded that the owner, over the years, had a total of 25 black belts teach classes.

They defined them as uncompensated employees, which is illegal under the laws of California, and fined the instructor $1,000 per incident.

The final bill: $25,000 for the volunteers.

Lesson: Know your state laws regarding utilizing assistant instructors.

Insurance for Your Summer Camp

Summer time is coming and most martial arts schools do summer camps for roughly a four or six week period where the kids come to the school and do stuff throughout the day. It usually consists of a combination of their current students and a lot of students that don’t belong to the school’s current roster, in hopes that they’ll enroll after the experience.

However, as always there are liabilities involved.

It’s very important if you’re holding a summer camp, to reach out to your agent and make sure that your current insurance policy will cover the summer camp.

READ MORE: 3 Types of Liability Insurance

Your martial arts insurance agent needs to know how many students are going to come and how many hours of the day they are going to stay there. If you are taking them off property and going outside or going to a park or doing any kind of activity that’s away from your premises, not only do you need to tell your insurance company but that needs to be part of the liability waiver that your parent’s sign for those kids.

Make sure it’s very clear that they’re going to be outdoors, or they’re going to be at a park, etc. If you’re taking them somewhere and that that language is included in the waiver, make sure the parents are signing off that they know their child’s going to be off premises and doing other things.

Always be aware that you’re going to be having participants who are not your normal students, as these students are not as familiar with your marital arts teaching itself. Make sure that these new participants are very comfortable with the activities, before they do anything advanced.

When you do have kids there for summer camp, make sure to always have two adults in your group of kids. This is important for protecting yourself from a sexual abuse or molestation claim.

If kids are changing clothes, make sure kids of the same age are in the dressing room, changing clothes, versus, kids that are significantly older. Make sure that again you are aware of the need to protect the children and supervise the children at all times. Also make sure you’ve done background checks on any extra instructors that are going to be helping you out in the summer.

It’s very easy to perform background checks online these days. Check every volunteer over eighteen years old that are working with your kids, and that they haven’t had any priors for abusing children. Keep a copy in your file that you did everything you could ahead of time to protect your students.

Many martial arts schools experience far more claims related to bodies of water than anything else. Most insurance policies do exclude communicable disease, so that’s something important to be made aware of in your waiver, that you’re telling the parents that the kids are going to be outside.

Your liability is that you are prepared to administer first aid, and that you are prepared to get that child safely the care that they need.

Make sure your instructors have been trained in first aid and in CPR. Have an emergency plan if you’re taking kids off site, how you are going to get them to the emergency room, if they fall and break something or if they get bitten by a snake, etc. Make sure whatever pool or a body of water you bring them to, has expert lifeguards there, and are trained to administer CPR.

Summer camps can generate great revenue for your facility, expose new people to your facility, and get more students in the fall. It’s great, but always be cautious and make sure you have spoken to your insurance carrier. Write down all the activities that they are going to do and disclose that to the insurance carrier and the parents.

If you’re going to make thirty or forty thousand dollars over the course of a summer camp and there is going to be an additional premium for two or three hundred dollars, it’s worth it to make sure you have coverage, for all these things that you want to do with kids that aren’t familiar with your normal business.

Don’t take that liability on yourself. Communicate it to your insurance carrier and make sure they are covering you for those summer camps because they are an outstanding way to grow your business.

Summer camps are great for the kids, it’s great for the parents, it’s great for the business. Just do your homework ahead of time to know what you’re doing and communicate it to the parents and the insurance company.

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