This is an excerpt from Business of Personal Training With Web Resource, The by Mark Nutting.
Lawsuits can be brought against health clubs, personal trainers, and instructors. If you'd like to get a taste of the possibilities, a simple web search will provide you with many examples (see, for instance, Eickhoff-Shemek, 2013). Regardless of whether a given lawsuit is valid, it involves you in legal action rather than in running your business. Even if you have never been sued for anything and don't anticipate having to deal with legal action, it is crucial for you to think about insurance for your business in the same way that you think about health insurance.
There was a time when I didn't have health insurance. I stayed fit and was never sick, and health insurance was expensive, so I decided that I didn't need it. Eventually, I got a job that not only provided health insurance but also paid 100 percent of the premiums (a great deal, especially these days). Now that I had insurance, I started to use it, and I realized that everyone should have it, just in case. For example, I recently needed to have a full shoulder replacement. My injury had gotten to the point where I couldn't even lift my arm, and that's a big problem for a fitness professional. A quarter-of-a-million dollars later, I have a brand new shoulder. Imagine if I didn't have health insurance! My shoulder replacement could have wiped me out financially. It takes only one "thing" to change your life.
It's the same with liability insurance. The fact that you have never been sued doesn't mean that it can't or won't happen tomorrow. What's more, lawsuits rarely stop at $250,000 (the price of my shoulder surgery). And here's another reason for obtaining liability insurance: "Maybe you were negligent, maybe you weren't. Either way, to defend yourself will cost you more than you have" (Leve, 2015). When even the cost of defending yourself could put you out of business, do you really want to take the risk of going without coverage?
Thus there are many reasons to get insurance, but these stand out:
- It is sometimes required by a governmental body.
- It helps offset the risk of owning a business or providing services to others.
- It protects your physical assets, such as fitness equipment and furniture.
- It provides a defense against claims related toinjuries and damages resulting from professional mistakes.
- It helps you recover from a dramatic event and safeguards you from a resulting loss of income.
- It attracts and maintains high-quality employees.
Yes, You Need Insurance
If you find it tempting to begin your business operations without liability insurance, consider these examples:
- In a group fitness class at a Manhattan fitness club, a 35-year-old woman suffered eye injuries when exercise tubing anchored by her feet slipped off, snapped back, and struck her in the face. She sued for $1 million, claiming that the broken band had blinded her (Ross, 2014).
- A 62-year-old woman was awarded $750,000 in a suit against a gym in Branford, Connecticut (Schoenfeld, 2015). She fell and broke her hip and wrist when her personal trainer had her get on the platform side of a domed balanced device during their fourth session.
- A 58-year-old woman claimed that her ACL was torn when she was pressured to jump from a 10-foot wall during the first session of a fitness boot camp (Boniello, 2015).
- A California health club paid $2.9 million to settle an employee lawsuit related to overtime wages and meal breaks (Turner, 2015).
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