Managing risks and buying insurance for sports facilities in Canada
From St John’s to Victoria, childhood dreams are often first sparked on Canada’s rinks and fields as well as in swimming pools. Talented goalies, divers and soccer stars are honing their skills right now at a community recreation and sports facility.
According to Statistics Canada’s first-ever survey of public infrastructure, Canadians build individual and teamwork skills at 5,400 ice arenas, 4,700 pools and splash pads and approximately 30,000 sports fields, community centres, tennis courts, skate parks, curling rinks and stadiums.1Across the country, thousands of sports facilities inspire fields of dreams in future athletes and lifelong sport and fitness enthusiasts alike.
If you manage a recreation and sporting facility in Canada, you are well aware of the many risks that are involved in your operations. This post provides some timely and useful insights for buying insurance for sports facilities in Canada.
Insuring a sports facility – What you need to know
Insurance companies want to understand the risks and exposures your sports facility faces on a day-to-day basis. This means that they want to know about the public recreation activities that your sports facility hosts as well as your risk management practices.
Your facility may be a dedicated ice arena, a multiplex facility that hosts multiple sporting and recreation activities or a seasonal facility that only operates in the winter months. What follows is an overview of some questions you can expect to answer when you are buying insurance for sports facilities in Canada.
- Where is the sports facility located?
- What national and/or international affiliations does the sports facility have?
- How many years has the sports facility rink and/or fields been in operation?
- Who manages the sports facilities? How many years of experience does the manager have?
- What is the rink/field layout? Provide some specifics about rink/field dimensions, spectator seating, concession areas, common areas, ice machines and storage areas, entrances and exits, glass heights and boards around the rink/field and netting locations.
- Is the rink/field located indoors or outdoors? If outdoors, how is ice quality monitored?
- How is the rink/field secured when not in use / closed?
- Do all participants in public recreation programs sign waivers? How many participants do you have annually for each program? Are there any non-Canadian participants?
- Is the facility’s restaurant, lounge or pro shop subcontracted?
- How many employees – full-time and part-time – work at the sports facility? What are the certifications of individuals who run programs in the sports facility?
- What is the claims history of the sports facility?
- Is the sports facility open 365 days a year or seasonally?
- What are the regular maintenance, security and safety routines for the various areas of the sports facility?
Sports facilities insurance – Two coverages that recreation and sporting facilities need
Here are insights about two basic types of coverage that are important when insuring sports facilities.
A standard property policy will provide coverage for extended perils, such as floods, windstorms, hail, earthquakes, acts of terrorism, explosion, riots, smoke, civil commotions and vehicles that damage your insured sports facilities. Property coverage will protect your sports facility against losses due to fire or lightning. This includes the cost of removing property as a way to protect it from further damage. Note that you can also secure specific vandalism and malicious mischief coverage – insurance that is particularly useful for sports facilities that operate only during a specific season.
Meanwhile, general liability coverage will respond if a participant slips, trips and falls while using your sports facility. Also known as CGL or commercial general liability, general liability protects against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage related to your sports liability premises, operations, products, completed operations as well as advertising and personal injury liability.
Recreation and sports facilities across Canada – How to manage common risks
When it comes to managing risk, prevention is key. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) provides some risk management insights that are of particular relevance to people who manage sports facilities across Canada. Listed below are some management and mitigation strategies for sports and recreation events taking place on rinks and fields as well as in sports facilities.
- “Ensure the design of the sports and recreational facility is appropriate for the people who use it.
- Ensure equipment meets the standards set by the Canadian Standards Association.
- Determine an appropriate supervisor-to-user ratio for different sports and recreation activities. The appropriate ratio will depend on the type of activity, the equipment being used, the age of the participants, etc.
- Screen patrons for health limitations that may make it unsafe for them to participate in your program.
- Use signs to warn patrons of any hazards. Signs should use symbols and French and English text where possible.
- Implement a screening and hiring policy to ensure that you employ only qualified people. You may wish to require a criminal background check for employees and volunteers working with the elderly or children. Ensure that employees and volunteers have adequate training in first aid, coaching and organization policies and procedures, and any other training that is appropriate to your organization.
- Adhere to national, provincial or other governing-body regulations and legislation concerning the conduct of operations.
- Ensure the facilities and equipment are regularly inspected for damage and repaired or replaced as necessary. There are professional consultants that you can hire to periodically inspect equipment.”2
From Victoria to St John’s | Let us help you get sports facility insurance in Canada aligned.
As you seek out the best sports facility insurance options and products, we are here to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions. Each one of us at ALIGNED Insurance takes pride in delivering a better and different kind of insurance experience to our clients across Canada.
Source(s): 1Statistics Canada: Canada’s Core Public Infrastructure Survey 2016; Raptors rename practice facility the ‘OVO Athletic Centre’; 2 IBC.ca: Sports and Recreation – Risk Management – 15 Tips for Managing Sports and Recreation Risks