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Is Your Soccer Tournament Covered?

Make Sure Your Event Has the Right Insurance Coverage

June 9, 2009
By Nick Williams

So you are a tournament director in charge of putting together an annual soccer tournament. Most of the particulars are in order, but there’s one major issue: how should you insure your event so that if someone gets hurt or something gets damaged, your organization isn’t footing a huge bill?

Well, Soccer Tournament Guide spoke with the sports insurance experts at The Camp Team, a sports insurance agency that has been helping people just like you for over 20 years, and this is what they had to say.

Camp Team

There are basically two types of policies, one offering spectator and premise liability coverage and the other covering participant liability.

The spectator and premise liability option would only pay to defend your organization from lawsuits arising from a spectator and damage to property, like a spectator taking a soccer ball off the head, someone slipping and falling in the parking lot or damage caused to the fields or the goals. In this policy, claims by players actually participating in tournament are excluded.

“What’s unique about this is that doesn’t cover clams form athletic participants,” said Ryan Ferrin, a broker associate with The Camp Team for over 7 years. “If someone was injured and tried to sue the tournament, this does not cover it.”

So why do some tournaments risk having their participants uncovered? Usually because the tournament thinks they are covered by having all participants sign a waiver.

“Some people say they don’t need the participant coverage,” Ferrin said. “First thing people always say is ‘We have everyone sign a waiver, we’re not concerned about the participant liability coverage.’

“What I try to make clear is even though you have them sign a waiver, they could still sue you and take you to court, and then you have to incur the court cost, the lawyer fees and hope and pray that the courts throw the case out because of the waiver,” Ferrin added.

This brings us to the second coverage option, participant liability coverage. This option would defend your organization from lawsuits arising from everything covered in the spectator/premise liability (spectator falls, property damage), while also covering claims from athletic participants under your organization’s control. This can only be offered with a minimum of $10,000 accidental medical insurance.

“[Participant liability] pays to defend the tournament directors in a court of law if sued by a player who has gotten hurt at the tournament,” Ferrin said.

Ferrin said this is the safest route of action because of the uncertainly that comes with having participants simply sign a waiver.

“There’s always a prosecuting attorney that finds a loophole in the waiver,” he said. “Whether the person who signed it wasn’t the legal guardian or the kid who signed it was under 18. Meanwhile the tournament director is incurring all these fees and out of pocket expenses.

“I’ve heard horror stories with people who only had a waiver signed and had to pay out of their pocket. I tell people all the time, a waiver is only as good as the paper it’s written on,” Ferrin added.

“We have over 2,000 clients,” he said, and 98% take the participant liability and have everyone sign a waiver as well.”

For more information on which type of tournament coverage is right for your event, visit www.campteam.com.


Camp Team






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