Getting the most out of your insurance programs

Published October 5, 2016

In recent risk management workshops with National Sport Organizations (NSOs) as part of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Risk Management Program that I have been facilitating over the past 9 years with over 50 sport organizations, I have noted that “the risk that our insurance program is not adequately providing the coverage we need” is consistently being noted as a very high risk among participants. Common insurance that sport organizations need to ensure the safety and well-being of employees, volunteers and assets include:

  • Directors and Officers liability insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Office insurance
  • Employee benefits
  • General Liability insurance
  • Wrongful Dismissal Liability insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Occupational Liability Insurance
  • Harassment/Abuse Insurance
  • Special Event Liability insurance

Some of the possible solutions noted by myself and my colleagues LeeAnn Cupidio and Steve Indig include the following:

  • Reviewing your insurance carrier’s assessment of risk to ensure you are not being unfairly penalized due to outdated ratings
  • Having an independent broker do a fair market review to ensure you are getting the best possible coverage at the lowest possible premiums
  • Identifying one person in your office as the person responsible for becoming familiar with the terms and conditions along with the process involved to coordinate claims
  • Review what your Provincial Sport Organizations are doing and determine if a shared approach to insurance is possible. In many cases, there is a significant reduction in costs realized when ‘like organizations’ pool their insurance needs together.

For instance, one large sport club recently connected with an employee benefits program broker. After surveying their needs, reviewing their current program and premiums, and benchmarking against other service providers, the broker was able to save this organization $3,000 annually while enhancing the benefits to employees. One reason for the savings is the pooling of companies to get a lower rate. The other is that many leaders are too busy putting out other administrative fires that they fail to ask for benchmarking data to ensure competitive rates.

In addition to the above, I have noted an interesting approach to employee benefits that I believe sport leaders should take note of. Rather than approaching employee benefits as simply providing health and death coverage, some providers are taking it to the next level by offering up customized wellness programs to enhance the workplace culture. You can read about some of my other blogs on the importance of workplace culture and respectful environments. If you are curious about how your employee benefits program stacks up against the rest, take a moment to review this check list:

  • When was the last time you reviewed your employee benefits package? Is it considered minimalist or would you say it’s leading edge? What are others doing? What do you want to be known for as a leading sport organization?
  • What percentage of your overall budget is earmarked for insurance and benefits? Is it sufficient or on par with other companies?
  • Review your current benefit and pension packages, if you already have them
  • When you’ve had to file a claim, was your experience a positive one? If not, why not consider taking your business elsewhere?
  • Do your employees know what’s available to them? Increasingly, employee benefits include employee assistance programs that offer support on a wide range of issues including dealing with mental health, taking care of aging parents, dealing with adolescents, stress-related issues, etc.
  • Ensuring that you investigate renewal rates ahead of time is key. You may switch over to a company that at first glance is less costly but who’s renewal rates are higher than another comparable company.

Some organizations are creating proactive wellness programs to create epic cultures. These progressive organizations understand the business value of health and can help organizations assess the health of their people, design creative solutions, implement effective programs and measure outcomes of their workplace wellness investment. Some of the value-added creative solutions include:

  • Bike to work challenge
  • Healthy vending
  • Company gardens
  • Healthy food delivery
  • Wellness Apps
  • Managing mental health in the workplace
  • Group fitness

As with any identified risk, we at the Sport Law & Strategy Group advocate for creative solutions to common problems. It may be worth investing your time to review your organization’s insurance coverage and employee benefits to ensure you are getting what you need, at the best possible price and possibly shifting the way you approach this important workplace component. If you want to chat more about your insurance needs, please contact Steve Indig ( If you want to chat about workplace culture and employee wellness programs, you can contact me (

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