Since 1985, Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation has focused solely on the health & fitness industry.
The Dawn of the Fitness Industry
With the formation of John F. Kennedy’s President’s Council on Physical Fitness in the 1960s, a new era in exercise science and technology began. America’s early obsession with physical fitness had people jogging, bicycling, swimming and weight lifting at home—as the regional YMCA was the only sort of gym facility available. By 1981 however, the obsession was in full display as the aerobics craze swept the nation to the tune of Olivia Newton John’s hit single, Physical.
Fitness had become an industry.
But even as health clubs continued to pop up across the country, traditional insurance providers viewed them as a highly speculative, niche market. As owners struggled to insure their clubs, Glynne Simpson stepped in to fill the void.
Origins of SFIC
With a staff of two, Simpson’s company was the original insurer for the manufacturer of Nautilus brand exercise equipment. With the help of Nautilus’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, John Urmston, the visionary CEO designed the first policies that would be sold by his new company, Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation, founded in 1985.
When Nautilus salespeople began recommending the company as a preferred insurer to their clients, Simpson realized the potential of this new industry. He headed to the first conference of the International Racquet Sports Association (IRSA) to see what other business he could drum up.
He showed up at the show with nothing but a card table and a white poster board with the word Insurance written on it. That humble tactic paid off in a big way. For more than a decade, SFIC was the only general liability provider recommended by what is now known as the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).
Still Going Strong
Today, SFIC is one of the largest fitness underwriting companies in the nation, with a staff of around 30 at the company headquarters in Madison, Mississippi as well as an office in Charlotte, North Carolina. SFIC is licensed in all 50 states, has over 14,000 active policies for health clubs and individual trainers & yoga instructors nationwide, and is endorsed by the largest fitness franchise in the world—Curves for Women.
John Urmston’s daughter, Jennifer Urmston Lowe, remains with SFIC as their National Accounts Manager, and Glynne Simpson is still active in the business he started, now joined by his children.