The Coronavirus and Your Martial Arts Insurance

Understanding Your Insurance Coverage

From Jennifer Urmston of Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation

“It is important to remember that viruses are excluded from standard Commercial General Liability insurance policies. This means that insurance companies will most likely not pay members for claiming they contracted a virus at your school.

It is very difficult to track where a virus comes from, so it would be difficult to prove that someone caught a cold or the flu or the coronavirus from their martial arts school.

However, a martial arts school should still focus on cleanliness at all times to protect themselves from a claim of negligence.

At this time with the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis, we recommend following the guidelines of your local health department and the CDC.

All third party claims of any type of injury including from a virus should be turned in to the school’s General Liability carrier for a claims adjuster to respond.

Viruses are also not a covered cause of loss under a standard Commercial Property Insurance policy.

A covered cause of loss is required in order to trigger Business Income Coverage on a Commercial Property policy.

Business Income coverage replaces loss of income sustained during a period of restoration, following a covered property loss.”

This is usually when a building is being repaired after physical damage has occurred.

Therefore, a school will not necessarily be eligible for business income-related insurance coverage even if that school experiences reduced business because students are fearful of contracting a virus.

Jennifer Urmston Lowe goes on to say, “Standard Commercial Property policies include an Exclusion for Virus and Bacteria that applies to Business Income and Civil Authority coverage. We recommend, however, that all business owners review their own specific policy language and file a claim with their carrier if they feel that they have coverage.

It is vitally important to maintain the power, lighting and security systems for your martial arts school at all times.

Your premises can have water damage, fire damage or vandalism and other physical damage during a slow down or shut down.

Finally, we strongly recommend that business owners do not let their insurance lapse at this time because these types of claims could be expensive and threaten the long term viability of the business.”

We have spent the week working with Liberty Mutual to help our staff answer coverage questions and recommend appropriate resources related to the Coronavirus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.coronavirus.org.

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How COVID-19 spreads.

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Steps to prevent illness.

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Stigma and resilience.

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for travel.

CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): People at risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

Environmental Protection Agency. EPA’s registered antimicrobial products for use against novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

Examine.com. Summary of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

McKinsey & Company: COVID-19: Implications for business.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Pandemic readiness.

US Department of State. Travel advisories.

World Health Organization. COVID-2019 Daily situation reports.

Bully Victims Face Felony Charges in New Missouri Law

Bully Victims Face Felony Charges in New Missouri Law

There is a new law in Missouri that has moved what may have been misdemeanor assaults to felonies for kids. Students could face jail time if convicted.

A bully victim who defends himself and hurts the attacker with one well trained shot, could be facing four years in jail and massive legal fees.

What if a victim’s parents decides to sue the kids karate instructor for teaching that technique? Or, some other reason related to the incident?

If so, what kind of insurance for martial arts schools would cover such a claim?

This is very important information to get out to you martial arts instructors. It is going to be imperative for all martial arts teachers to make sure they carry Professional Liability Insurance to protect themselves from any claims that could arise from what they say and do teaching their students.

Martial arts instructors should document that their instruction is defensive in nature rather than offensive when working with kids. Teaching the character traits that are valued in traditional martial arts will continue to be a very important element of the curriculum for martial arts schools to help their students understand when and how to use their self-defense training.

All schools need to check that their insurance plan includes the Professional Liability. Individual teachers who do not own their own school but teach in other facilities need to make sure they have Professional Liability coverage that travels with them wherever they go.

Get your martial arts school insurance reviewed at http://MATAInsurance.com.

Get a great resource for teaching bully prevention seminars at http://AntiBullyPlan.com

#martialartsinsurance #martialartsschoolinsurance

Martial Arts Insurance: What If It Really Is Your Fault?

See our comprehensive library of Martial Arts School Insurance Information and Interviews.

 

What If It Really Is Your Fault?

If you are responsible for an accident or injury, tell your martial arts insurance company so. Let them know that you really believe that you owe these people, and you would like them paid. This might affect your standing with your insurer, and would probably affect your rates anywhere else you went, but that’s what you pay martial arts insurance premiums to do. If a matter is small and easily within your budget, you might handle it on your own.

Sometimes we make mistakes, and those mistakes can lead to serious repercussions. At times, a matter might even be serious enough to warrant criminal charges. 

During a class, a fairly new student had serious problem with control. The instructor, in an effort to “Teach him a lesson,” unleashed full speed on the student. While none of the strikes were full power, even with protective gear the student was knocked back, hit his head, and had bruised ribs. 

The student took no legal action, but the assault was potentially criminal and could have resulted in civil liability as well. If the family had made a claim, the instructor would have been well-advised to offer to pay for medical expenses.

Read more: 3 Ways to Get Sued in Your Martial Arts Business

Sometimes someone else does something criminal, and their ability to do so was a result of our negligence. Consider the case of the young girl sexually molested by the son of the school owner. The son is guilty of a crime, but the school owner could also be found negligent for allowing his son access to the young girls and making a place available to him for such conduct.

There would be additional factors to consider, such as previous conduct, known tendencies, and the reasonableness of precautions available. Still, the family could sue. The school owner in that situation might want to work out some sort of settlement with the family to cover therapy for the girl or some other form of compensation. 

An attorney should help put together any settlement, since an improperly-worded offer may open the door to all sorts of problems in the future. In fact, a good-hearted, but improperly-done settlement offer could turn something that wasn’t going to be a serious case into a major event. 

A skilled attorney can avoid this situation, but make certain your attorney has some skill at diplomacy and negotiations, since many are overly combative and so focused on being a vigorous advocate for their client that they inadvertently pick fights and turn settlement discussions into Court battles. Some few do it on purpose to collect larger fees, but most simply haven’t got the skill to deal with matters with courtesy and respect for everyone involved. If your insurance company is handling the matter, finding a good attorney is their responsibility.

Your insurance should cover the settlement on the case. If you don’t have insurance, the fair settlement value of a serious matter might be more than you can afford. In that case, you may need to set up a payment plan. Called Structured Settlements, payment-plan settlements allow you to pay over time, and the total amount often does not change, since no interest is applied to the balance. There is also the possibility of obtaining an equity loan, selling a car and buying a less expensive model, or selling some personal property.

The lesson? Have martial arts insurance. Period.

Martial Arts Insurance: The Best Defense Is a Good Defense

See our comprehensive library of Martial Arts School Insurance Information and Interviews.

 

The Best Defense Is a Good Defense

The best defense is having a good defense ready. If an attorney has to contact you to find out what happened in an accident eight months ago, and you are vague because you can’t quite remember, that won’t help your case much. If the attorney asks who else saw it, and you don’t know, and if the attorney needs to know what was done at the scene, and you don’t recall, then your case will be very difficult to prove. 

The other side may have medical records, statements taken immediately following the accident, and pictures of the injury. You need to have your evidence as well. For most minor incidents — bumps and bruises — such detail will be unnecessary. When something serious happens, then you should put together a complete file on the incident. 

Consider yourself your own private investigator. Be careful to collect only “objective” facts, though. That means treating facts without distortion by personal feelings or prejudices. You don’t want to be accused of using your position as the instructor to badger your students into lying, embellishing or shading the facts.

Take note of what happened, who was around, what was done about it and by whom, and an account of the events and possible contributing causes. This will serve as a reminder to you, since memory can be inexact. It may be months before you have to give a “deposition” (testimony), and years may go by before a trial. If you rely on your ability to remember a two-year-old event, then you can expect to be expertly tripped up by a skilled attorney on cross examination.

If you have a good martial arts insurance policy, then your insurance company should take care of your legal defense. If you do not have martial arts school insurance, then you should already have an attorney in mind to work on any case you might have. It might be a student, or a parent of a student, who understands martial arts and has some experience litigating. 

Once you receive a lawsuit, your attorney typically has 30 days to file papers with the Court. If you spend 20 of those 30 days hunting for a decent attorney, then your attorney does not have adequate time to prepare your defense. 

At times, attorney’s have received case files the day before paperwork is due, and they have to rush on paperwork that can determine if you win or lose your case. Cases have practically been forced to settlement for more money than the case was worth, because the attorney wasn’t given the Summons and Complaint in time to prepare the necessary paperwork.