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Insurance: Just a Necessary Evil?

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Many fitness club owners show great loyalty to equipment brands, trusting in one manufacturer’s products year after year, upgrade after upgrade. This loyalty often serves them well as they develop a true relationship with someone who really understands and is connected to their business.  

Insurance, while often seen as a necessary evil, is a product and service that should be rooted in the same kind of two-way commitment. Certainly there is value in making sure your premiums are appropriate and not excessive — it is your money, after all — but it’s also true that a long-term commitment to an insurance partner has several important benefits.

First, the right insurance partner will truly understand a club’s risks and make sure they are properly covered year after year. After all, a 10 percent reduction in annual premiums won’t matter much if a risk such as sexual abuse is not properly covered and a costly claim isn’t paid. 

Second, an insurance partner that has watched a gym evolve over time and understands its loss history is less likely to be rattled by one big claim or one bad year. The long-term view gives insurers an understanding of an overall risk profile, and they’ll be more likely to maintain a club’s favorable coverage terms and premiums in the event of an off year.

Third, many insurers that compete largely on price simply lack industry expertise and commitment. On the other hand, insurers that understand and are committed to the fitness club industry in the long term are more likely to stand with a club year after year and offer industry-specific services. These include risk management services to prevent accidents and injuries, and control losses — preventative measures that can have a positive impact on premiums over time.

Today, club owners are seeing steady and competitive premiums for their liability coverage, but many are seeing increases in property coverage. These increases are being driven by catastrophic losses across the country, including tornados, wildfires, floods and other increasing weather exposures. While a gym’s property rates are affected by its specific location, they also are affected by these broader property trends.

Having a longtime, trusted insurance partner can help fitness club owners understand how these types of trends may affect their rates in years to come.

Shopping around every year or two for the lowest insurance price may save a few bucks in the short term, but without a trusted partner that understands a club’s risks and provides the proper coverage and risk management solutions, these changes may cost far more in the long run.

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Brian Rawlings

Brian Rawlings is Practice Leader for FITLIFE, which insures fitness facilities, health clubs & spas, for Venture Programs. He can be reached by phone at 800-282-6247 ext.323 or email: brawlings@ventureprograms.com.  

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