Having a plan in place for protecting your business and the investment you’ve made in it starts with insurance. But even once you’ve found the right broker and insurance policy for your business, there are still a number of other ways to make sure you’re protected on a day-to-day basis. Below, we share some best practices for limiting your professional liability and upholding your reputation.
Limit Your Liability
One of the most important aspects of protecting your business is to first and foremost limit your liability. Working with outside vendors, third-party instructors, or consultants can leave your business open to risk. Not only should you ensure they have their own insurance, ideally they should also list you as an “additional insured” under their policy. Are their limits sufficient?
In addition, develop a standard waiver form for new clients. As a ClassPass studio or gym, you have a unique opportunity for a continuous influx of new members. Due to the high volume of first time participants, the opportunity for someone to hurt themselves with an unfamiliar movement increases. Protect yourself by having all participants sign a waiver form before joining a class.
Cover the Basics
As the motto goes: “Be prepared.” One of the best ways to protect yourself is to develop a firm understanding of the basics for loss control and create a safe environment within your gym or fitness facility.
Depending on your facility, conduct routine inspections of equipment, infrastructure, and any installations you have done. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintaining equipment, as improper maintenance can void warranties and in turn, void coverage in the event of a claim. Keep common areas clean and avoid slips and falls by having all areas properly maintained by staff. With the number of people coming in and out of your studio, it’s important to mark all wet areas and quickly fix any unsafe conditions that could injure a customer.
Create A Plan
Incidents happen. Creating a plan for what to do in the event of someone being hurt or bringing an issue or concern to your attention is the first step to proper loss control. Before you can act on your plan, keep these important tips in mind:
- Document Everything. Log every incident and keep track of what, how, and when it happened. Remember that claims can present themselves long after an incident occurred.
- Have all emergency contact information readily available. Be prepared to notify family or emergency contact per a client’s documentation.
- First aid kits should be easily accessible and properly labeled. Educate your staff on where these are located and how to properly administer.
- Understand the claim reporting procedures of your policy. Putting your insurance carrier on notice is the first step to proper reporting procedure, even before a formal claim is filed.
- Keep Evidence. Video and photo evidence can be critical components to protecting your business. Be sure to keep copies for yourself long after an incident has occurred.
- Know how and what to communicate. Let your insurance company serve as the first line of legal contact with claimant once claim is filed.
Educate Your Staff
Your plan is only as good as its execution. Make sure your staff is familiar with all company procedures surrounding liability. Trainings should be conducted routinely, such as once every quarter, with your staff on how to handle an incident, across the spectrum of possible scenarios. For studios with high staff turnover, it is critical to train all new hires, including temps.
The Uninsurable: Your Reputation
Client reviews and word of mouth can make, or break, your success. Don’t allow an improperly handled situation be the cause of unflattering and detrimental reviews. By following the guidelines and recommendations for keeping a safe environment, you are creating the first line of defense in the event of something going wrong.
This blog was sponsored and written by AJG. Protect your business today and learn more about Arthur J. Gallagher by visiting www.ajg.com. To receive your competitive and comprehensive online quote for your business click here.
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is global insurance brokerage firm based in Rolling Meadows, IL providing comprehensive brokerage and risk management solutions to its clients. Founded in 1927 as a family owned business, AJG continues to practice its shared values, corporate culture, and passion for excellence that define “The Gallagher Way” of doing business. Among its various awards and recognitions, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is proud to be the only insurance broker on Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Visit www.ajg.com to learn more.