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How COVID-19 Will Affect Risk Management


Risk management has always been at the top of a club owner’s priority list, but with the unfolding events of the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear clubs are going to put even more emphasis on the topic.

Brian Rawlings, the practice leader at Venture Insurance Programs, said the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on risk management for health clubs will remain somewhat up in the air for awhile, but a few changes and pressures will inevitably come out of this crisis for the industry. 

Three main things stick out as potential changes for him: cleaning, business continuity response planning and disaster recover planning, and coverage availability.

Cleaning and disinfecting measures will become more important than ever,” said Rawlings. “This will be equally viewed and discerned by a concerned and uncertain membership population who will need to see and feel the cleanliness and safety of the gym as the insurance and risk management provider reviewing best practices.”

Rawlings predicts business continuity response planning and disaster recover planning will and should get additional scrutiny and attention across all business sectors, including the health club industry.

He also predicts covering availability and pricing will probably be affected. “Carriers will be taking a step back to evaluate what coverages they want to afford and at what price,” he explained. “Consumers will need to make educated decisions in consultation with the insurance broker and advisors as to how to best protect their business and the financial implications on various decisions to that effect.”

When it comes to insurance, Rawlings offered the following questions clubs should be asking during the pandemic:

  • What do I need to continue to adequately protect my business interests and obligations? 
  • Are there payment deferment options available from my carrier? Any premium relief, etc.? 

State mandates and carrier responses are changing daily as they work to sort it out to assist the consumer.

While the coronavirus pandemic is scary, Rawlings said the health club industry is one of the most resilient and purposeful industries in the world. “Please know there is a network of vendors and industry support associations committed to being there to assist both throughout this time and beyond so that gyms and clubs can continue to serve their members for their physical and mental health in a time they will need it like never before,” he said.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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