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From water aerobics classes to competitive swim training, swimming clubs provide multiple opportunities for members to engage in rigorous exercise, take part in a team sport, or learn a very valuable life skill. While running a swim club can certainly be rewarding, there are many risks involved with this type of business. As such, it is essential to maintain a comprehensive range of insurance coverage to protect your business from hazards you may be held liable for.
What insurance coverage do I need for my swim club?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to swimming clubs:
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance covers incidents of third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, and advertising injury. With a high number of visitors to your premises and many physical hazards involved with swimming, general liability insurance financially protects your swimming club by covering medical expenses and legal fees associated with third-party claims. After all, students, spectators, and other third parties are all at risk for slip-and-fall incidents, illnesses stemming from pool-borne bacteria, heat-related illnesses, and even accidental drowning.
In addition to these physical injuries, general liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury or property damage resulting from product liability. If your swimming club provides food concessions or sells swimming gear, you could be held liable if a customer is injured or becomes ill.
General liability insurance can also protect your business from lawsuits based on non-physical injuries. These claims include copyright infringement in advertising, slander, and libel.
- Bodily injury: A patron of your swimming club slips on wet flooring while walking through your reception area. He twists his ankle during the fall and requires medical attention. Your general liability insurance would pay for medical expenses and legal fees if the customer sues.
- Products and completed operations: One of your members becomes very ill after eating fruit from your concession stand that was contaminated with E. coli. General liability insurance would cover legal fees and settlements if she decides to sue.
- Personal and advertising injury: Your swimming club launches a social media advertising campaign with artwork that coincidentally looks similar to a professional illustrator’s designs. The original artist sues you for copyright infringement. Your insurer would pay for legal defense and any settlements.
Professional Liability Insurance
If your swim club employs swim instructors or coaches, your business may face several liability risks. Your clients place a lot of trust in your instructors, but even a single mishap during a swim lesson can put your business on the wrong end of a claim. Professional liability insurance covers the costs of lawsuits and damages related to the professional advice and services that your swimming club provides.
Perhaps one of your swim instructors suggests swim techniques that aren’t appropriate for a client’s abilities or pushes a member beyond their limits and causes a physical injury. These clients may file a lawsuit against your business for negligence. Professional liability insurance can protect your business in this instance and cover your legal fees and any settlements or judgments against you.
- One of your swim instructors pushes his student beyond her physical limits during a lesson. The student aggravates an old back injury and requires medical attention. The student files a lawsuit against your business for negligence. Your professional liability insurance would cover the legal expenses associated with this incident.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial and medical benefits to your employees if they are injured or fall ill as a result of their work. Workers’ comp can also provide funeral, burial, and death benefits to dependents in the case of a work-related death.
Patrons of your swim club are not the only ones who are at risk for injuries. Employees of your swimming club are just as susceptible to strains, slip-and-fall incidents, and back injuries while training, instructing, or watching over your clients. Even maintenance employees are exposed to pool chemicals which may result in contact dermatitis, as well as lung and respiratory illness. Workers’ comp can pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and sometimes even vocational training. Depending on the severity of an injury, an employee may be eligible for benefits during the period of recovery, or in cases of permanent disablement, for life.
Each state has its own regulations and requirements for workers’ comp, so it is important to understand your state’s requirements to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your employees.
- One of your instructors develops a swimmer’s shoulder injury as a result of repetitive movements during demonstrations. For treatment, her doctor recommends physical therapy and a break from swimming. Your insurer would cover these medical costs as well as a portion of her lost income when she is unable to work during her physical therapy.
Commercial Property Insurance
Because your swimming club relies almost entirely on your pool and swimming equipment, purchasing commercial property insurance is important to protect the value of your business’s property. If an unexpected disaster damages or destroys your property, it can be difficult and expensive to recoup your losses. Commercial property insurance can help your company recover if your property is damaged. Commonly covered perils include fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, and water damage.
- An intense hailstorm damages your outdoor pool’s motor, tears the pool liner, and fills your pool with debris. Because a hailstorm is a covered peril in your commercial property insurance policy, your insurer will pay for the pool repairs.
Business Income Insurance
Business income insurance (also known as business interruption insurance) provides coverage for loss of income and operating expenses if your business must temporarily close to recover from physical loss, damage, or destruction by a covered peril. This coverage includes a business’s net profits and normal operating expenses such as rent, employee salaries, and taxes.
Swim clubs are entirely reliant on functioning swim equipment and an open business location, so any damage to your business property directly impacts your ability to operate. With a lack of backup facilities easily available to rent, it is essential for swimming clubs to have the necessary preparations in the event of an interruption of business.
- A windstorm damages the roof of your swimming facility, causing multiple leaks. While repairs are being made to your roof, you are unable to open your business. Your business suffers an income loss during the repairs. Your business income insurance can provide funds to cover these losses.
- Inland marine insurance financially protects products, equipment, and other forms of business property that are not tied to a fixed location and are not covered by commercial property insurance. More specifically, bailee’s customer coverage is important to consider if your swimming club offers lockers for members to temporarily stow their personal belongings during their swim sessions. Your customers’ property is under your care, custody, or control, and you may be held liable if that property is damaged or lost.
- Commercial crime insurance provides protection for businesses from financial losses resulting from criminal acts. This includes forgery, robbery, burglary, theft, and employee dishonesty. There is particular risk for employee theft, as employees may manage membership dues and ticket sales and may have access to safes or cash registers.
- Commercial auto insurance provides physical damage and liability protection for vehicles that your company owns or leases. If your employees are involved in a car crash with a company vehicle, commercial auto insurance can provide coverage for physical damage, third-party bodily injury, and property damage. This insurance also covers your company vehicles if they are physically damaged or lost due to theft, vandalism, collisions, or other covered hazards. It is also advisable to consider commercial auto insurance if your employees use their own personal vehicles for business purposes.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a swim club with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for swim clubs:
|Provider||General Liability||Professional Liability||Business Owner's Policy|
Business Insurance and Coronavirus
Swimming clubs have not been immune to the major impacts of COVID-19. Business owners are likely wondering how insurance can provide coverage during the pandemic. It is important to note that you cannot purchase a new policy to cover coronavirus-related losses that have already occurred.
If you have business interruption insurance, the losses you’ve suffered from temporary closures due to COVID-19 are not typically covered. Unless your policy specifically includes coverage for losses caused by communicable or infectious diseases (which is rare), your business interruption policy will likely only cover losses caused by a direct physical loss or damage.
Workers’ compensation for COVID-19 greatly varies depending on the state. If your employees contract COVID-19 while working, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation payments in some states.
If a client or other third party sues you claiming that they contracted COVID-19 after visiting your business, some commercial general liability policies will provide coverage. Once again, this depends on your individual policy and the laws of your state.
Consult our FAQ on coronavirus and business insurance for more information.
For years, swimming clubs have provided exercise and recreation for people of all ages. These indoor and outdoor facilities host team events, competitions, water polo matches, water fitness programs, and swim lessons. Your swimming club plays an important role in your community and obtaining adequate business insurance is necessary to assist your business should any unexpected catastrophes arise.