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Patrick Foley

COVID-19 liability for youth sports programs

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As I speak with administrators of sports programs across the country, one concern that has been popping up is legal liability.  It seems that most liability policies for sports programs include exclusions for communicable diseases.  In other words, if a player gets sick and it can be traced to a particular team / program, the leaders of that program could be held liable in our "sue everybody" legal system.  And our insurance won't provide coverage.  

To the extent that some policies do provide coverage, I'm hearing that coverage is likely to be dropped once renewals come around.  I know that most clubs and programs utilize waivers so that parents take on responsibility for the risk of COVID exposure, but while waivers can help you in court they might not help prevent you from being sued.  Hopefully the Government will step in with some protections sometime soon, but until then the exposure does exist.

On a positive note, apparently sometimes D&O (Directors & Officers) policies do provide coverage.

Please share what you are hearing about this subject, or let us know how you are handling it. 

 

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Interested to hear how various programs/pools are handling this, and if there is a company that offers any protection at all. Our pool board made the decision to close for the summer of 2020, which is extremely heartbreaking on so many levels, primarily because their D&O policy didn't provide coverage for communicable diseases. 

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That’s brutal.  Our liability insurance didn’t cover but our D&O did, which gave us the confidence to move forward.  Ultimately I think government intervention is needed ... because I’m hearing from insurance people that the trend will be away from coverage not toward more options.

It’s crazy that people offering youth sports programs should face COVID liability ... but that’s the reality for now.

A lot of organizations are using waivers. But a waiver won’t stop you from facing a frivolous suit.

 

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Whitpain Township's Youth Football and Cheerleading programs are moving forward with their 2020 season under CDC guidlines and requiring a waiver. 

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Glad to hear it John!!  And a waiver is definitely a necessity right now.  Hopefully we will get some legal protections out of Washington at some point.  

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