Day and Overnight Camps for Liability Horse Insurance Online

horse association insurance

If you provide seasonal or year-round day and / or overnight camps for youth or adults, you have a liability exposure that is not easily insured by many insurance companies.  If you are paid or compensated in any way for these services, this is a business venture that will not be insured under your Homeowner’s Policy, or under your Farm Insurance Policy.  Your camp is a business venture that requires commercial liability insurance.

Camp operators often have these commercial exposures or activities:

Camps usually provide overnight accommodations such as cabins, campgrounds, and dormitories, and food service.  Camps also provide educational and recreational activities for campers provided by staff members or outside contracted sources.  These often include low exposure activities such as arts & crafts, games and relays, performing arts, hiking, fishing, bird watching, petting zoos, environmental education, canoeing, kayaking and swimming.  Higher exposure activities may include horse activities such as lessons, trail rides and horse care, therapeutic riding, gymnastics, diving, rafting, rock climbing and more.

Please note: Ark Agency’s Insurance Companies insure camps that have a strong horse and equestrian focus.  We may not be able to insure all of the high risk exposures a camp operation may have, such as bungee jumping, high diving, and high elements rock climbing.  Also, while uncommon, child molestation by counselors is an exposure of concern and you may request to add this coverage to your policy under our program.

How Risky is the Day and Overnight Camp Exposure? High.

Because camp services are long term and provided to children who are minors and not accompanied by parents, the exposure is in the high category. Children require a high level of supervision, repeated instructions, and attention. The exposure level is offset somewhat by the fact that most camps are run according to, and may be accredited by, industry standards established by long standing respected camp organizations.   The exposure is offset as well because continuous or nearly continuous supervision is provided for campers at a ratio of counselors to campers that is an excepted standard of the industry.

As a camp operator, you worry that you could be sued or otherwise have a claim made against you for bodily injury incurred by a camper.  If sued, you will need to hire a lawyer to defend you, and you wonder how you would go about doing this.  You would have to pay a court-ordered or agreed-upon settlement to the injured party if you are found responsible.  Fortunately, much concern can be relieved when you buy a Commercial General Liability Policy [CGL] to insure the camp operation.

Commercial General Liability Insurance protects you from financial loss should a camper, visitor, or a trespasser become injured [Bodily Injury] or their property is damaged [Property Damage] in relation to your camp operations, and they make a claim or file a law suit against you for damages.

If yours is a children’s camp, be sure to ask if Child Molestation Coverage is provided under the policy you are applying for.

You Must Plan Ahead – A Five Pronged Strategy

No one wants someone to be injured on or in relation to their property or business operations. No one plans to have an accident that results in a liability claim they are responsible for. Yet, you still must plan against and for an accident, and there is a five-pronged strategy you should follow:

  1. Accident Avoidance is the first strategy. This is best accomplished by implementing a thoughtful operational risk reduction plan that provides a reasonably safe physical environment and procedures for horses and people. All staff members should be trained in those practices. [NAHA Risk Reduction Programs can assist you.]
  2. Emergency Procedure Planning is the second strategy, and it can be important to minimize the severity of an accident and provide proper care at the time.
  3. The third strategy is to use well-worded Warning and Release of Liability Agreements. [NAHA can provide contract models for you to evaluate and use.] Have them completed and signed completely and correctly by all participants. Keep the signed forms on file and safely stored for several years as suggested by an attorney in your state.
  4. The fourth strategy is to carefully review and comply with your state’s Equine Activities Immunities Law, if your state has one. All states have some form of the law except California, New York, Maryland, and Nevada. Some require special wording in warning and release agreements, and some require posting of specific warning signs on your property.
  5. Purchase an Equine Liability Insurance Policy that adequately covers and lists all of your specific activities in the policy. The policy should be placed with an A rated domestic insurance company having a good reputation for service, knowledge of equine risk, and for handling equine liability claims. Be wary of low pricing, as generally a low price means something important is missing in the policy or the Insurer may not understand how to price equine exposure. This important fifth strategy can protect you and your business from financial loss should an accident happen. It helps fulfill the sense of responsibility you have about serving the public, but it provides more than peace of mind. In event of a covered claim, the Insurer provides legal defense and pays for defense costs. It pays for claims costs and settlements made against you up to the limits of your policy. Just as important is the fact that knowledgeable professionals will handle and manage the details of your claim in a way that looks after your claim and litigation interests, so that you can continue functioning with the least amount of “hassle.”

Equine Activities Immunities Laws have been passed in 46 states. While these laws may help you avoid liability, they will not usually thwart a determined injured party from pursuing a claim or law suit. This is because to receive immunity under the law, the activity sponsor must have performed in a specific way according to what the law requires. And often immunity is determined through some type of expensive legal proceeding that can result in a large, often uncontrolled expense to an uninsured stable owner. You still need to be properly insured for liability.

If You Rent the Stable Property Your Business Occupies, We Can Also Insure Your Tack, Equipment, and Machinery for Loss or Damage

Three common camp claim situations that occur:

1. A camper is injured while participating in a camp activity, such as horse back riding, low elements rock climbing, cycling, playing games and in competitions.

2. A camper gets into mischief when they wander away from supervised activities and is injured.

3. A camper’s parents make a claim for child molestation or abuse of some type.

Where to Begin

Your insurance needs are unique, therefore we believe in person to person service. Call or e-mail an Ark Agency Representative for an estimated premium, policy and company details, and qualification requirements. We work with several insurance companies and rates and coverage conditions vary. We will help you determine which application to use and advise on how to put insurance in force.

*General information is provided on this insurance topic. Acting on our coverage recommendations does not guarantee coverage if you have a loss or claim.

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