Each year during the ACA national conference, the National Insurance Committee hosts a roundtable discussion with our insurance business partners and other insurers of camps. At the roundtable, trends in the insurance industry that may impact camp operations, what types of claims were filed the year before, and risk management issues are discussed. This year’s roundtable discussion, as the ones in the past, has proven to be an excellent source for risk management issues we as camp professionals cannot afford to ignore. The National Insurance Committee has a charge to help educate members in areas related to risk management, and the roundtable provides a starting point for many issues. Following the roundtable, members of the committee report what was learned during an educational session at the national conference, which many camp professionals attending the conference find very enlightening. This article highlights the topics discussed.
Top Concerns for 2013
- Appropriate supervision of campers ALL the time
- Property losses related to catastrophic events
- Abuse claims — camper to camper of special concern
- Workers’ compensation
- Agreements and insurance related to outside user groups and contractors
Overview of Claims and Noted Trends
- Property — compared to 2011, there were fewer claims but overall higher losses. Claims were in the following areas:
- Fire related — electrical, chimney fires, wildfires
- Storm related — wind storm, landslide, flood
- Water — flooding (from natural causes as well as broken water lines)
- Business interruption — caused by issues both on and off premises
- Sexual Abuse/Harassment/Discrimination
- As reported in 2011 and true again in 2012, camper-to-camper sexual abuse is on the rise. APPROPPRIATE AND ACTIVE SUPERVISION is key!
- Several claims were related to off-season rental groups. Be aware that if abuse occurs within the rental group while on your property, as the “landlord,” you may be drawn into the complaint.
- There is a rise in sexual harassment between employees.
- There has been an increase in transgender campers. It is important that you discuss how your camp will address these requests with your senior management before they come up. Have a plan and know where to look for resources and support.
- General Liability
- As reported in 2011 and again in 2012, there is an increase in the rental of facilities by outside groups. Having the appropriate agreements and coverage in this situation is imperative (see “Contracting with User Groups, Revisited” by Charles R. Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp in the 2011 Winter CampLine: www.ACAcamps.org/campline/w-2011/contracting-with-user-groups ).
- We continue to see an increase in high-risk, specialized activities. It is important to share this with your insurance provider and to have properly trained staff. Remember that the underwriters are looking at your Web sites and literature — you don’t want them to find out about activities you are doing from your Web site. Share your activities up front to ensure you have appropriate coverage for the exposure.
- Challenge course related concern — camps are beginning to use their zip line (and other challenge course components) more as an amusement rather than a program. Increased state and federal regulations could impact your camp financially if the element is considered an amusement.
- Aquatic-related accidents and deaths — camps are held to a very high standard where aquatics are concerned, particularly in regards to supervision. Claims that have not resulted in death have resulted in complaints of emotional stress on the camper. Again, SUPERVISION is a key element in helping to avoid tragedy. Also, weigh very heavily the decision to allow rental groups to provide their own lifeguards at aquatic facilities. You have no way to know the actual skills of the person they are putting in charge of swimmers, usually children, using your facilities. If something happens while a rental group is on site, you will be defending your camp’s reputation and good name. It is strongly suggested a camp consider just charging more and providing all certified staff.
- Workers’ Compensation
- Across the board, all insurers cautioned camp directors to be aware that rates will be increasing for almost everyone insured. It is important to talk seriously and specifically with your insurer or broker to be sure what type of rate increase you can reasonably expect to see in 2014. Talk about your losses for the last four years and MOD; changes to your payroll, especially increases; how your counselors and other staff are classified for rating; and whether or not any current discounts will continue. The answers to these questions should be very specific
- to your camp and will help you determine what your increase will be.
- It is important to know that vendors and service providers who come on your property are covered by their own workers’ compensation. This was also a top concern in 2011. Make sure to require that they provide you with a certificate of insurance naming your camp/agency as additional insured.
- New this year, it’s important to know who covers you