Protecting Your Club’s Good Reputation
In today’s highly competitive fitness market, a good reputation sets your club apart and influences people when they choose which club to join. While allegations of sexual misconduct can quickly damage your club’s reputation, you can take steps to protect your staff, members and guests as well as your business before an incident occurs.
To protect your staff and clientele, start by implementing a written sexual misconduct awareness and prevention policy that addresses sexual harassment, assault, abuse and any conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed. Include procedures for your staff to follow when responding to accusations of sexual misconduct in the event an incident is reported. Review this policy regularly and update it as needed to keep pace with your club’s operations.
Conduct regular awareness and prevention training for your staff, including volunteers, so everyone understands your club’s sexual misconduct policy and your expectations for compliance. Have each staff member sign an acknowledgement of completion that is kept on file. Hold follow-up sessions for your entire team on a regular basis to train new people and reinforce your club’s commitment to a safe environment for everyone.
Even with a sexual misconduct policy in place and regular staff training, your club may someday be faced with an allegation of sexual misconduct. That’s why it’s equally important to review your insurance program to understand if your club is protected against such accusations. Here are some questions to ask your insurance agent:
- Does your club’s insurance program provide coverage for sexual abuse or molestation?
- Who is an insured for abuse or molestation coverage and who is excluded?
- What are the coverage limits for a sexual misconduct claim?
- Does your club’s insurance program provide defense for any insured against such allegations, unless or until an admission or determination of guilt?
- Are defense costs within or outside the limits of liability?
- Does coverage include outside counseling service expenses?
- What is the coverage territory? Does it include coverage for insureds anywhere in the world, except where coverage could be in violation of U.S. economic or trade restrictions or a travel ban?
Taking time to implement a written policy, conduct regular training and review your insurance program with your insurance agent helps you protect your members, staff and guests and your club’s good reputation.
*This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.
Jayson Scott has 13 years of experience as a commercial lines underwriter at The Cincinnati Insurance Company. Since 2014, he has supported Cincinnati’s growing Fitness, Sports & Recreation program, initially as the program’s dedicated specialist and now as national program director. Jay can be reached by email, Jayson_Scott@cinfin.com, or by phone, 513-603-5885. Please visit www.cinfin.com/fitness-sports for more information.