By Jennifer Urmston Lowe
As an owner of a health club, gym, or group exercise studio, you know there are risks and responsibilities associated with running a business. In the fitness field, specifically, you have people participating in physical activities on-site. There could be an injury as a result of an accident, an insult introduced by inadvertent humor, or even a claim from a client that a fitness expert’s advice negatively impacted their health.
These are all things that you, as a studio owner, can’t really control. People will be people. But, you can protect your business from potential problems or even lawsuits. Think gym insurance!
Recently, SFIC, in partnership with the Association of Fitness Studios, presented a webinar that outlined insurance requirements for fitness studio owners to help them understand exactly what they need. Insurance can be somewhat of a mystery as many business owners know they need it to satisfy loans and leases, but very often are not sure what and who it actually covers. Let us explain:
#1: You, as the studio owner, and your direct employees are covered under your liability insurance. The independent contractors who work at your facility are not covered under your policy. It is very important to verify that independent contractors carry their own professional liability insurance.
#2: Loose lips sink ships. As the business owner you are responsible for what the trainers say to their clients. An unsolicited remark at the gym deemed inappropriate by a client may result in a sexual abuse lawsuit against your business. Or, perhaps a fitness pro – wearing a shirt with your company logo on it—gives nutritional advice to a client that causes them to feel light-headed and faint. Ultimately, under the laws of fitness liability, you are responsible.
#3: Protect your staff. It’s not unusual for a group X instructor to get hurt while on the job. It is important to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover wage replacement and medical benefits to injured employees.
The reality is, a lawsuit can be filed for anything, and a policy will be suspended even if the claim is frivolous. It is important to understand the details of your health club insurance. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!