We thought we would put together a few questions and answers to help all those who are interested in our program. If we have missed anything, or there was another question you wished to ask, please call 1-800-844-0536 or 601-898-8464 extensions 2232, 2338 or 2292 and
Please note - In this article, we generally refer to Personal Training. Whether you are an Aquatics Instructor, a Tai Chi Instructor or an Aerobics Instructor and so on, these Professional Liability wordings also refer to you.
Important - our policy is meant for the individual instructor ONLY. It does NOT provide coverage for employees.
What is this insurance for?
Every time you train, instruct or consult with any of your clients, there is risk involved.
As a professional in your field, you need to practice loss prevention daily by serving the needs of your clients in a safe environment. You need to protect yourself by purchasing quality insurance.
Am I covered under my Club's Insurance and how do I determine if I need my own insurance?
Fitness Professionals often work as employees within the confines of a health club where there is probably coverage already provided by the health club's insurance policy. But what if the personal trainers act outside of the operations of the fitness facility where they are employed. Are they covered? The answer is NO!
Am I an Employee or an Independent Contractor?
What defines whether a personal trainer is an employee of a club or working on their own is not only who collects the money, but how much control do you have over your decisions as to what, where, when and how you teach a course. An employee is a person in the service of an employer, where the employer has the right to control and direct the employee in how the work is to be performed. Usually the independent contractor is not paid with a W-2 form. On the other hand, an independent contractor is generally a person who is contracted to do a piece of work according to his/her own methods, where the employer has little or no control as to what you teach, how you teach it and so on. Independent contractors are generally not covered by a club's commercial insurance policy. Again, we suggest that you check with the club owner to find out if you are covered. Sometimes a club will set up programs that are administered by an Independent Contractor such as swimming, group fitness or an entire aerobic program. The individual working under the independent contractor are looked upon as subcontractors and again are also not covered under the club's insurance. This is getting to be an extremely grey area with club owners as to whether their own club policy covers instructors or not. Most Fitness Professionals are becoming more like independent contractors and need to purchase their own liability insurance. If in doubt, check with the club owner to make sure if you are covered or not.
What about signing a waiver?
Each client to whom you provide professional training/group instruction should sign a waiver. This waiver is your first line of defense. It can sometimes keep an individual from contacting a lawyer thus avoiding a lawsuit. When things go wrong and your client is injured and goes to a lawyer, you will probably lose most of the protection afforded by the waiver. But again being a professional in your field you should not train anyone that will not sign a waiver.
Why should I keep records?
If you cannot prove that you have provided a fitness assessment and noted any health problems, the court will find you negligent if your client is injured as a result of the health problem. You may need to know: Do they have any pre-existing condition such as back problems, heart problems, and/or knee problems?
· Make sure they talk to their doctor BEFORE you start them on a fitness program.
· Once you realize that they are a beginner or that there is a pre-existing condition,
start them off slowly until they become more physically active. They are counting on your knowledge.
· You should assess your clients on a regular basis to make sure they are able
to increase the amount of exercise.
· Suggest they take part in a physical appraisal to determine their fitness level.
Some people just go gung-ho on exercise and then realize later that they should
have been more cautious.
· As their Professional Fitness Expert, you may be held responsible for any injuries to your clients.
Most people starting out with a Fitness Professional should begin slowly and build up gradually. Don't push anybody to do more than you feel they are capable of performing. This is the safest and easiest way to go. Another suggestion is to have a medical questionnaire for all of your clients to complete and sign. If the client has any medical problems, a Med-X form and a doctor's note should be obtained. Good information before you start to train someone may save you time and headaches in the future.
When and why would fitness professionals need insurance?
As mentioned earlier in this article, if you are an "employee" and you do not act outside of the operations of the fitness facility where you are working, then you are covered under the fitness club's insurance.
But, if you are doing any special programs on your own outside the scope of the facility, then you will need your own liability insurance. Any time that you instruct, are training, or just advising a client, you are liable, as you will be seen as an expert in your field, through the eyes of the court.
What's covered under this program?
This liability policy provides limits of up to $3,000,000 of protection including professional liability.
Do I automatically qualify for this insurance?
At this time, to be eligible to purchase this insurance you must be an individual certified or working toward a certification in your profession. If you own or lease your worksite it needs to be less than a total of 1000 square feet and you need to be training adults over the age of 18 (there are exceptions to this- please call if you have questions). You must also be a resident of the
How much does this insurance cost & how do I get it?
This policy is set-up on a twelve-month term beginning on the day the application is received at our office and continuing for 12 months. Upon receiving your application along with payment and any further information as required, you shall be sent a certificate of insurance showing the policy number and the limit of insurance that you have chosen. Visit us online at www.sportsfitness.com for current prices for the coverages provided.
No "Participants Exclusion": Some policies exclude coverage to participants.
An exclusion like this, which is common in the fitness industry, would be no good
for you, as all of your work involves the participation of your clients, as opposed
to a premise exposure such as a slip or fall.
Professional Liability: Most liability policies exclude professional liability coverage.
If a court was to deem that your