Pilates Instructor – Insurance 101
What is Liability Insurance and Why Do I Need It?
Liability coverage is crucial for all instructors – no matter what your discipline. It protects you if, while instructing, a client experiences an injury. Besides physical harm, this “damage” could be to a client’s physical property. Regarding injuries, there are three factors taken into account when assessing the amount of “damage”. The first is pain and suffering, including medical and rehabilitative expenses. The second is a loss of earnings, caused by the injury. The last factor being loss of personal enjoyment. Often an injured individual claims this because as a result of their injury, they can no longer enjoy the same activities, sports and hobbies they once could, and that their lifestyle has been affected as a result.
We all hope that we are never confronted with any of these incidents throughout our fitness careers – but it is important to be prepared. If a client is hurt on your watch and you don’t have insurance - what happens? The injured individual or their lawyer, will contact you advising that they are hurt, or alternatively, you may receive a “Notice of Intent to Start an Action” by mail or hand delivered. This document means that the injured person has initiated a lawsuit against you to recover the “damages” that they have suffered. At this point you must contact a lawyer immediately
Who Should You Call?
Your family lawyer is not necessarily the best resource, unless a specialist in personal injury law. Be sure to recruit a well-respected law firm with lawyers that specialize in bodily injury. Also make sure you have the money to pay an upfront retainer fee, which usually starts at about $5,000.
To prevent an incident escalating to the court system, STOTT PILATES® highly recommends that you buy an insurance policy. Certified Instructors can buy a discounted annual liability insurance policy that pays any “damages” up to the limit of insurance (usually at least $2,000,000). Additionally, the insurance pays for all of the defense costs including hiring insurance adjusters to look after all of the legal details. All in all, this protection will reduce your anxiety level and leave you with peace of mind.
How Can You Reduce the Chance of Being Sued?
The best way is by being professional. Understand your client and be consistent in your approach to your business. Loss experts all agree that the three P’s of loss prevention are policies, practices and procedures. Different demographics require a varied approach. Children, young adults, baby boomers and seniors all need to be treated differently. On the whole, they all have specific needs and reasons for using your services. Remember, each individual has different capabilities – simply aim for them to reach their personal best, not in comparison with anyone else.