Why you need a risk management partner and how to select the best one.
Health clubs are a place people go to work out, socialize and improve their day. They’re also a place where people can roll an ankle, slip on a wet floor and have their personal belongings stolen. This is why as an operator it’s crucial you have a risk management partner or team to rely on.
“We have a blended team of staff who work closely with our property and liability insurance partner — The Cincinnati Insurance Companies,” said Marco Fiorini, the general manager of Cincinnati Sports Clubs. “For property and liability, you want to look for a partner that is willing to meet with your risk management team — typically your security manager, operations manager, controller/CFO and general manager — on a fairly regular basis. This team can update you on the trends inside and outside of the industry, types of claims filed, trending injuries, which providers are leaving the club market, insurance costs, etc.”
Cincinnati Sport Club’s onsite risk management team is responsible for updating the insurance team of new construction, trainings and policies in order to gain input on where they are vulnerable to risk.
When selecting property and liability insurance or a risk management partner, Fiorini recommended doing your research and ensuring they are reliable on industry knowledge.
“You will need your partner to come in at least twice a year — independent of these meetings — to review and analyze incident reports and any ongoing claims,” said Fiorini. “You should be asking how dialed in your insurance provider is in the health club industry as well. Are they going to tradeshows like IHRSA, or are they just attending insurance roundtables?”
Having a reliable risk partner can help not only keep your members safe, but also provide you with great resources from other industry operators.
Fiorini said they rely on their property and liability insurance partner to give them insights on industry trends, what claims are rising and falling, what insurance providers are leaving or entering the club market, and if prices and claims are going up or down.
In the past, Cincinnati Sports Clubs has relied on their insurance provider to put them in touch with other clubs they serve for benchmarking and best practice sharing as well.
“Our property and liability partner was instrumental in providing sources and contacts in 2017 when we put together our disaster recovery plan,” said Fiorini. “We received templates, advice and vendors which made the process much easier. We only talked with two other clubs that have a disaster recovery/business interruption plan, and they were based in Ireland and Australia where it is required by law.”
While having a great risk management partner is vital, it’s also important to educate your staff so they can act on the advice your partner gives.
It’s clear education in the form of training helps, but Fiorini recommended in-house drills as the best way to make sure your staff knows what to do in the event of an emergency. He noted these trainings should also be recurring. Cincinnati Sports Clubs does active shooter trainings six times a year, cyber security trainings six times per year and they rolled out a comprehensive training on all their emergency protocols that they will teach quarterly.
“Being repetitive and complementing drills with training and quizzes is the best way to ensure staff retains the important stuff,” said Fiorini. “It’s also important to stress to staff these are tools to use in their personal lives. Trainings should be tailored not just to address business risk but also the personal risk to staff.”
The risk management team at Cincinnati Sports Clubs has also compiled an Emergency Action Plan, which holds all emergency policies on incidents like an unconscious person, missing child, tornado drill, etc. and a Crisis Communication Plan.
“All department managers have a copy of this at their workstation,” said Fiorini. “There is an element of Six Sigma in our risk management process in the form of incremental improvements over time. We frequently update policies and procedures as needed. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to dust off our pandemic plan we had in place since 2005 and update it to be more comprehensive — adding electrostatic cleaners, sourcing additional suppliers, etc.”
There’s no crystal ball to predict all the potential risks that will arise inside your health club. However, having a great risk management partner on your side will help you have a plan in place to be prepared for the worst.
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