As fitness and wellness professionals, many have worked hundreds of hours to hone their craft and have spent significant dollars to receive the education and certifications to allow them to positively impact the lives of their clients. Certified trainers and wellness professionals have become, in essence, corporations in their own right. Loyal only to the clients they serve, these professionals may work in a number of locations during the course of the week — in clubs, studios, wellness centers and even in clients' homes. And just as any business that deals with the public needs to protect itself from blame and liability, these independent professionals will also need to cover themselves and their business with the proper insurance polices, wherever they practice their craft. Even for those individuals that spend much of their time in fitness clubs and studios, remember that these facilities' insurance policies are designed only to protect their interests, not yours. In fact, just one claim from one client can send the entire business crashing down around you.
            Today, a number of insurance companies are offering liability policies to many fitness professionals. However, simply buying a policy is not enough. Knowing what the policy covers, or more importantly, what it does not cover, is of critical importance. In fact, if a client files a claim against you and your policy does not cover it, it's as if you had absolutely no policy at all. There are some primary, simple factors to consider when choosing a liability policy to protect you and your hard-earned business.

  • Many policies today are being issued that do not include general and premises liability. Nowadays, many fitness professionals train clients at their homes or in facilities where they are not employees. If a claim arises from in-home training, whether in your home or the client's, you will be covered. However, if a claim arises from training a client in a gym, studio or wellness center, hopefully, the facility will have the necessary coverage. But we all know that lawyers will sue everyone associated with the event, and that means you. So, you will need to be covered. Not all general liability policies cover the following, so be sure you choose a policy that also provides coverage for:
    • Products Liability
    • Personal Injury
    •  Abuse and Molestation
    • Professional Liability
    • Additional Insureds (at no additional cost)
  • Be sure the company chosen to provide the insurance policy is an A-plus rated company that will be around and will support you comprehensively in the event of a claim. Such a company should provide the insured with legal defense at no extra cost. This will be a comforting fact when you're facing the stress of a lawsuit.
  • Nowadays, the Internet is an excellent resource to research, compare and buy insurance. Many companies are positioned to take advantage of the web, quickly and efficiently delivering quality policies to fitness professionals. Often, in as little as five minutes, fitness and wellness professionals can apply for a policy that will provide them the peace of mind needed to keep their minds off the "what ifs" and focus on the task at
    hand — to positively impact clients' lives.

Selecting the Best Policy

            The best policy to buy is the one that combines both property and casualty insurance, which covers losses to your facility with professional liability that protects you personally from a variety of claims. When searching for the right insurance policy for you and your professional environment, ask the following questions:
·        Why should I purchase insurance from a fitness industry expert? By using an industry expert to develop your insurance program, you can avoid errors or omissions in your coverage that could be very costly to you. For example, some insurance companies include such items as business income coverage on their policies. The fitness business is, in fact, a cash flow-intensive business, and you do not want any business interruption to impact the long-term health of your business.
·        I also have a staff that carries numerous certifications. Can this have an impact on the cost of my policy? Many insurance providers acknowledge the value of industry certifications and their influence on the delivery of safe, quality fitness programs and classes. In fact, having a staff of professionals with such credentials can result in up to a 50% premium discount for your policy. Just as auto insurers provide discounts to safe drivers, when fitness and wellness professionals practice their craft according to certifying guidelines, they are practicing their profession in a safe manner. Therefore, this means the insurer takes less risk, and the insured can reap the reward.
·        What is the value of certification when it comes to insurance for trainers, studios, clubs and wellness centers?Fitness insurance companies, such as, have developed a comprehensive selection of insurance products specifically geared to the fitness professional as an individual as well as the studio, club or wellness center owner. Certified professionals and certified facility owners typically enjoy up to a 50% discount on their premiums. In addition, certified trainers can help the fitness facilities where they are employed qualify for significant premium discounts of up to 50% as well.
            As a fitness and wellness professional, you will need to invest in insurance coverage that is comprehensive and provides you the peace of mind to pursue your craft without hesitation. So, do your homework, and choose a policy that completely covers you and your business. It will cost a little more over the course of the year, but in the event of a claim, you'll agree it was money well-spent.
            Robert Kuchefski is a 25-year insurance veteran, specializing in the health and fitness industry. He has worked with hundreds of fitness organizations and thousands of fitness professionals. Robert developed to specifically give fitness industry professionals an easy way to acquire the insurance coverage they need. For more information, call 800.649.0087, ext. 45.


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