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Why do martial arts instructors need insurance?
Insurance is to protect the school owner and his/her students in the case of an unforeseen accident or disaster. For some instructors it is something required in order to hire a venue but it has much more value than that. There are several cases where instructors have been sued and lost their home with subsequent devastation to their families because they assumed it wouldn’t happen to them. Is it worth risking everything you have to teach martial arts? I don’t think so! Insurance is the assurance you will not be sued!

What is the first question about martial arts insurance instructors ask?
Whether they are a karate instructor or kickboxing coach, most school owners ask how much it is. Price isn’t everything is it?
It is to most instructors, that’s why we have the cheapest prices. In reality price isn’t everything. However, martial arts instructors need to know what the absolute bottom price of the most basic insurance cover is, because a large part of a small school’s income can be spent on a premium, putting a major strain on the club’s finances.

Isn’t it more important to get the right cover for the style of school and the way they operate?
Absolutely or they are paying for insurance that will not cover their school in the event of a claim. Martial arts insurance is a specialised sports insurance and it can only be obtained through a handful of companies. Insurance is a complex area and many instructors don’t know much about it nor take the time to research it appropriately. Many instructors simply ask their local insurance broker and often they don’t know where to source this specialist sports insurance. Sometimes their broker has to go through another broker to get insurance and of course this jacks the price up. Other brokers gain kudos by directing their clients to the Martial Arts Alliance so the instructor gets a better price and they gain a deeper appreciation of their broker’s efforts.

What are some of the things that can go wrong if instructors don’t research insurance properly?

The classic cases are where the insurance simply doesn’t cover a martial arts school’s activities like not covering a certain style such as kickboxing, muay thai, mixed martial arts or Brazilian jiu jitsu. Some insurance excludes these styles entirely, while others say instructors can only teach a small percentage of a certain style at the school which creates numerous grey areas. Other policies require that every student sign an iron clad waiver or restrict them from any contact without spelling out their definition of contact.

What other problems can arise from selecting the wrong insurance policy?

Many fitness trainers / instructors are starting to include training elements from martial arts (boxing, kickboxing, karate drills etc) with a gym / group fitness insurance policy and as soon as they introduce partner drills their insurance isn’t valid. Some Therapy Insurance polices cover tai chi, chi qong and yoga but not’ push hands’ of tai chi or any other partner contact drills. One group of taekwondo schools joined together to get really cheap insurance then found out several years down the track that it didn’t cover them. Their policy only covered them for ‘administering first aid’ in other words they paid for a policy that was worthless.

Martial arts insurance can be a bit of a mine field in terms of finding the right policy at the right price, so how can instructors track down a good deal?

Yes it can be very hard for instructors to select the right policy, however there are policies for every type of school and operation because the Martial Arts Alliance has tracked them down and negotiated group deals for instructors. School owners need to ask the right questions about martial arts insurance so they are informed and can make a decision on what is right for them much more easily. The martial arts alliance has made it simple and easy to obtain the right insurance policy at the right price, all instructors have to do is make one phone call or send one email.

If an instructor has selected the correct martial arts insurance package at the right price, can anything go wrong?
An instructor may get a good price with appropriate policy wording but the insurance company may not be around in the event of a claim. Unfortunately this can happen to any company, however many of them share the risk between themselves and other companies so they share the cost of a pay out as well which gives them more strength. Finding out how an insurance company spreads its risk and knowing how much they have to cover claims, is important when choosing an insurance company. The martial arts alliance does this type of research for you and gives you free advice in the event of a claim before you have to contact the broker.





What does the right martial arts insurance package consist of?
Imagine that insurance is a layer of protection and that you can add more layers to further protect yourself and your school from being sued depending on your budget. One layer would be to take up a basic package consisting of Public Liability (2, 5 or 10 million) and Professional Indemnity (2-5 million) as industry standards. Another layer would be to add Personal Accident / Player Accident polices which may also include Income Protection. Business and Contents insurance are additional layers especially protecting from fire and theft. Basically you can get cover to protect every aspect of your school’s operation, at a price.

Are there any other layers of protection that instructors can put in place other than through insurance?
Yes, knowledge is the best layer of protection. It is paramount to be appropriately qualified to run a school, keep records to track students and adhere to the right set of polices and procedures. There is no reason for an instructor not to know how to protect his school as there are many courses / qualifications available to give instructors the skills and knowledge to operate safely.

What sort of polices and procedure should an instructor have in place?
One thing is to keep an attendance / incident / injury book so that the school owner has a record if a student hurts themselves or to check if a student was actually training on the date of a claim. Many students train at more than one venue or do other physical activities and may simply make a claim on the martial arts insurance because they there wasn’t any insurance on the other school/activity they were attending. Unethical yes, but people do it.

What items are covered in a martial arts sports insurance package?
It all depends on what is written in the policy wording and how that is interpreted. Some brokers will say it covers everything your school needs unless it states it doesn’t cover selected items. You might ask can the items covered be written into the policy wording and the reply might be no, because there would be too many and if something was missing it would be deemed not included. Confused? Well this is the another grey area and another reason why you should chose an expert in the industry like the Martial Arts Alliance which knows policy details, the insurance companies and will look after you. Some of the basic items that should be included in your policy are:
Staff: Instructors, Assistants, Students paid or unpaid
Where: Australia wide cover for club activities in more than one location indoors or out.
Activities: Gradings, Camps, Seminars, Short term courses, Tournaments, Demonstrations
Training: Sparring light to full contact, weapons, gym equip, cross training
Excess: either nil, $1000 or $5000 depending on the company


Is it a good idea for schools to group together and get a better deal?
Yes it is because that is exactly what the Martial Arts Alliance did over 12 years ago. The best thing to do is ask them to help you as they have the experience, contacts and credibility, having helped numerous associations in the past. One of the problems encountered with schools doing this on their own was that the schools were different to the insured identity and they weren’t included in the policy leaving them technically uninsured. Getting the best price can’t be achieved without large numbers and a clear claims history, the Martial Arts Alliance covers 100,000s of martial artists throughout Australia with a very low claims ratio history which means you are sure to get the best industry deal.

What is the procedure if someone makes an insurance claim?
Run away and hide! No really, it is not a complex procedure and the Martial Arts Alliance can guide you through it. Some policies have an excess of $1000 - $5000 so it is important to know when to engage the services of the insurance company. This is in place because it generally costs around $12,000-$15,000 in legal fees to defend against a claim before it even goes to court, fortunately this is picked up by the insurance company.

The first thing is to identify if the claim is legitimate, how it was caused, if it could have been avoided, if all the procedures were followed and to establish if your policy covers it. Some instructors get claims from students for medical bills / time off work after they have perhaps fallen over or been hit. There are people out there that don’t take responsibility for their own actions (careless/reckless) and others that are opportunists (looking for ways to make extra cash) and simply believe an insurance company should pay them. Is it legitimate? This is something you would discuss with your broker. Is it covered? As above. Many instructors make the mistake of saying to their students ‘don’t worry we have insurance to cover everything’ when they don’t. Many school owners obtain public liability (PL) and professional indemnity (PI) without player accident / income protection (PA) and when a student wants to claim for his medical bills he can’t unless he is able to successfully sue the instructor. It is the (PA) policy that may be claimed against more easily to cover some medical bills or time off work (those not covered by the claimants own personal insurance /medicare). More problems arise when the injured student thinks he/she can state he/she hurt him/herself get the instructor to make a claim, get some extra cash and then claim on his/her own insurance.


How to avoid the pitfalls of getting the wrong insurance package, call the Martial Arts Alliance on their Insurance Hotline 03 9897 3213

10 Things you should know about martial arts insurance
1. How to get the cheapest price
2. How to get the best policy wording
3. How to get insurance for free
4. Will insurance cover all your branches
5. Will insurance cover instructors and students anywhere around Australia
6. What type of cover you need
7. What exactly does a policy actually cover
8. What you need to do in the event of a claim
9. How you can be assured the insurance company will be around in the event of a claim
10. How you get a quote
11. How you get a group deal for your association
12. How you can prevent a claim
13. What are the consequences of selecting the wrong policy
14. Will getting higher qualifications reduce your insurance costs
15. Can you pay your premium off monthly