If you provide seasonal or year-round Guide & Outfitter Services, you have a fairly high liability exposure that is not easily insured by many insurance companies. Guides & Outfitter operations may provide a number of services to their guests and clients, and these services usually take place away from your premises on private and public lands and parks.
Those services include:
1. Guided day-long and overnight rides on horses or mules for purposes of a scenic tour, or for fishing or hunting in remote areas.
2. Provision of horses or mules and guide services to escort and deliver guests of another company from one point to another; as from a staging area to a remote ranch or camp.
3. Pack Horse or Pack Animal Services whereby operators carry supplies and gear into remote areas to a delivery point, and pack out refuse and other items on a contract basis. Guides & Outfitters may provide riding animals, pack animals and tack, camping gear, fishing equipment, some related clothing, and food for guests while traveling. Perhaps the greatest concern for Guides & Outfitters is the potential for an accident to happen that causes injury to a guest rider or bystander. You are concerned for your financial protection and your responsibilities toward those you serve.
Advertising and promotion at trade shows and travel fairs, in magazines and newspapers, through local flyers and on the internet is an exposure of moderate concern that is usually insured under a GL Policy. Having employees require worker compensation insurance under a separate policy of that type. Worker Compensation insurance is not part of a GL Policy. Some Operators may have host or other liquor liability exposure for providing wine or beer to their guests during social times. While host liquor is insured under the GL policy, Liquor Liability is not and requires additional coverage. Note: Ark Agency does not insure unguided animal rides.
You worry that you may be sued or otherwise have a claim made against you for bodily injury or property damage by a customer, guest or someone else who comes in contact with you or the property that is part of your commercial horse operation. If sued, you will need to hire a lawyer to defend you and you wonder how you would go about doing this. If found negligent or responsible, you would likely have to pay for either a court-ordered or agreed-upon settlement to the injured party. Fortunately, much concern can be relieved when you buy a Commercial General Liability Policy [GL] to insure Guide & Outfitter activities. Commercial General Liability Insurance protects you from financial loss should a guest, visitor, or a trespasser become injured [Bodily Injury] or their property is damaged [Property Damage] in relation to your operations, and they make a claim or file a law suit against you for damages.
These operations usually provide supervised and free-time, rugged out-of-doors wilderness activities for guests for longer than an hour or two, and often overnight. Guests may include children that may be difficult to supervise at all times. Locations may be remote. These factors combine to rank such operations in a High Risk category for incident or injury to happen. Horse activities are reasonably safe compared to many other activities people participate in. Yet, horse-human activities do carry inherent risks. Accidents do happen when people at different stages of capability attempt to touch, handle, train, ride, drive and control large animals that are unpredictable even when well trained. And some horse-human accidents are serious. Even with the best of intentions and management practices anyone can have a claim made against them and be sued.
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:
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.
The General Liability Policy includes specified maximum limits or amounts of liability insurance for:
Medical Expense: Pays for low cost medical expense with no questions asked about your liability or responsibility in the matter.
Legal Defense Costs: Today court costs and hiring of a lawyer can quickly mount to $50,000 or more, an expense you do not want to come out of your pocket if you are sued and have to hire a lawyer. If sued in relation to this activity, the policy provides legal defense whether the case has merit or not.
Settlement or Claim Costs: For bodily injury and property damages for which you are responsible and held negligent and liable.
1. A guest becomes injured while riding a horse or mule either from falling off or jumping off and bad weather can contribute to the cause.
2. Non-owned supplies are damaged or lost while being transported.
3. A bystander is injured on the trail when being passed by a pack train.
4. Animals can get loose and cause damage to property.
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.