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June 4, 2012, 12:46PM PT in Exam Preparation Blog  |  1 Comments

The Ins and Outs of Liability Insurance

InsuranceWhether you have just passed the ACE exam or you’ve been working in the fitness industry for several years, carrying professional and liability insurance should be strongly considered. While there are several insurance agencies that provide coverage, you may be wondering which type of insurance is right for you, and how much coverage is needed. To help answer some of these common questions, I’ve put together some definitions and details to better explain the process. After all, you want to protect your hard earned assets, right?

What is general liability insurance?

General liability insurance helps protect individuals in the event they are sued by customers due to injuries or damages. Examples of this include trip-and-fall incidents.

When is professional liability coverage needed?

Professional liability is needed when an industry has accepted professional standards of care. Since basic liability policies do not protect against situations arising out of business or professional pursuits, professional liability insurance is needed. It protects trainers or instructors against professional negligence or failure to perform as a competent and prudent professional under similar circumstances.

How much coverage is enough?

When figuring out how much insurance you’ll need, you’ll want to consider what level of comfort you want:

60% of fitness professionals chose a $1 million per occurrence/ $2 million aggregate policy

35% of fitness professionals chose a $2 million per occurrence/ $3 million aggregate policy

What does the rating mean?

The ratings are rank according to financial strength. A++ is superior, C++ is fair and F denotes significant problems.

Are all insurance policies for personal trainers the same?

Today, a number of insurance companies are offering liability policies to certified personal trainers, but simply buying a policy is not enough. It’s of critical importance that you know what the policy covers, or more importantly, what it does not cover. This is crucial because if a client files a claim and the policy does not cover it, it’s as if there was absolutely no policy at all.

Do I need general liability/premises liability coverage?

Many policies today are being issued that do not include general and premises liability. Nowadays, many fitness professionals train clients in their homes or in gyms where they are not “employees” as defined by insurance. If a claim arises from in-home training, trainers need this kind of insurance coverage. If a claim arises from training a client in a gym, hopefully the gym will have the necessary coverage, however technically anyone associated with the event can be sued, including the trainer. If he or she has the right policy, an insurance company’s lawyer will defend the trainer.

Remember that not all general liability policies are the same, so be sure to do your research and choose a policy that provides the following:

  • Products Liability
  • Personal Injury
  • Abuse and Molestation
  • Professional Liability
  • Additional Insureds (At No Extra Cost)
  • No Joining Fee

Be sure the company you choose is an admitted A+ rated company that will be around to support you comprehensively in the event of a claim. An A+ company will provide you with legal defense at no cost to you, which is comforting if you were to face the stress of a lawsuit. If you get a lower-rated company that is non-admitted, or what is called a “Surplus Lines” company, they may not have the financial strength you’ll need. Or you could actually pay for a policy and have them close their doors, which unfortunately we’ve seen happen during the recent national economic challenges.

As an ACE-certified professional, you’ve worked hard to establish yourself professionally and because of that we’ve worked hard to help provide you with affordable, quality insurance options. Check out the many benefits offered through the ACE Liability Insurance Program.

By Brian Greenlee
brian.greenlee@acefitness.org

Brian Greenlee, MBA is the National Accounts Manager for the American Council on Exercise. He holds a Masters in Business Administration, a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Business Administration, and has earned all four ACE Certifications. Brian has worked on the business and sales side for professional sports teams including NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA and division I collegiate athletics.

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