Underwriting & Loss Control
Tennis, Anyone? How Insurance Can Be a Major Player in the Game
Best’s Underwriting Reports and Best’s Loss Control Reports provide insight into the lines of coverage, exposures and loss control for tennis clubs.
- Anthony Bellano
- September 2022
The U.S. Open Tennis Championship commenced at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Aug. 29. Over the years, the tournament has been filled with memorable moments, such as Arthur Ashe becoming the first African-American man to win the Open in 1968, the battle between sisters Venus and Serena Williams in 2001 and the “18 minutes of chaos” in the match between John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase in 1979.
There also are those who miss tournaments due to injury. Earlier this summer, Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon in the semifinals with an abdominal injury. Athletes can get insurance to protect themselves, but there are other ways in which the worlds of tennis and insurance intersect.
Tennis centers and clubs also can be at risk for potential lawsuits in the case of employees and players getting injured. In 2014, the Randolph Tennis Center in Morris County, New Jersey, was forced to close temporarily after a partial collapse. The center was awarded $4.9 million to cover the cost of repairs, upgrades and business interruption, according to the Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman law firm.
Editors from AM Best's Underwriting and Loss Control Resources recently examined one such risk, associated with recreational and training tennis centers.
The biggest liability is injury, Tom Fontana of World Insurance Associates told AM Best TV. Facilities also need to make sure the insurance company covers the club, the pro and the facility.
Best's Underwriting Reports identifies eight lines of coverage for tennis clubs: Automobile Liability, General Liability: Premises and Operations, Professional Liability, Workers' Compensation, Crime, Property, Business Interruption, and Inland Marine.
Best's Hazard ranks the risk exposure for the lines of business as Low (1-3) and Medium (4-6).
Following are excerpts from the Lines of Coverage reports that have the highest hazard index rankings.
Best’s Hazard Index
|Line of Coverage
||Best’s Hazard Index
|General Liability: Premises and Operations
Lines of Coverage
General Liability: Premises and Operations
Premises and operations exposure for tennis clubs will be moderate. Although most injuries will come from slips, trips, and falls, there is the potential for player injuries. Tennis players could run and crash into walls or fences that too closely surround the court. Sponsorship signs hanging on walls surrounding tennis courts could potentially fall on visitors. The exposure will increase if the insured holds overnight tennis camps, tournaments, or other events that draw large crowds. A cyber insurance liability exposure also will exist for most clubs. Also, tennis clubs that sell food and/or tennis equipment (rackets) will experience a slight General Liability: Products — Completed Operations exposure.
Tennis clubs will have a moderate Workers' Compensation exposure. Most claims will arise from injuries received while maintaining tennis courts. Employees also may have to work at heights while repairing lights. Employees who give tennis instruction may be injured by slips, trips, and falls on the court, from the use of automatic ball machines, or accidentally getting struck by a student wielding a racket. Employees performing administrative tasks could experience repetitive motion injuries as well as eye strain from working at computers. The exposure will be increased for clubs that hold large tournaments or sponsor tennis camps. The exposure will also be increased for clubs with swimming pools or fitness facilities on the premises.
Tennis clubs generally will have at least one tennis professional on hand to instruct members and to teach classes to beginners. Many clubs also run summer tennis camps, which may have several professionals on hand to teach a larger number of students, often young children. Some facilities operate exclusively as a tennis school with several tennis professionals present at all times. The injuries that will occur from improper instruction will be small, consisting primarily of strains, sprains, and shoulder and arm injuries (e.g., rotator cuff tears and repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow). Claims of abuse and molestation are possible. Tennis clubs generally will have a minor Professional Liability exposure. Because a gray area exists between General Liability: Premises and Operations and Professional Liability, it is recommended that they be written by the same carrier for the same amounts.
The Business Interruption exposure for tennis clubs will be minor. Because of the large size of the facilities that usually will be required to house them, finding a satisfactory temporary or permanent location may be difficult. Therefore, most clubs will probably prefer to rebuild rather than relocate in the event of a total loss. The time it takes to rebuild depends on the size of the insured's facilities. Large tennis clubs may have several buildings on the premises (e.g., retail shop, restaurant); a loss to more than one structure will extend the time needed to rebuild. There also may be a peak season.
Some Aspects of On-Site Inspection Related to General Liability: Premises and Operations:
- What is the layout of the premises?
- Is there adequate aisle space between desks in office areas?
- What is the condition of the insured's floors and floor coverings?
- Are the insured's public restrooms easily accessible to all visitors?
- Number of tennis courts, locations (indoors or outdoors).
- What surface materials are the insured's courts made of?
- For indoor courts, shock-absorbing padding applied to any support columns and other fixed obstructions, along with walls, that surround courts.
- Evacuation routes posted where they can be easily seen by visitors.
For more on this and other risk classifications, visit Best's Underwriting & Loss Control Resources.