Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as a result of sports and other recreational activities on an educational campus remain a large concern by liability underwriters. The widespread concern over concussions suffered in sports, particularly in football, have spurred an increased emphasis on medical screening and training for all athletic personnel as well as the implementation of many new concussion regulations with which educational institutions must comply.
While the emphasis has been at the collegiate level, the threat exists at all levels. In 2017 a South Carolina school district was sued for a TBI sustained by a middle school football player. Institutions should remain vigilant in their health and safety protocols related to concussion management to:
- Lower the risk of TBIs for young athletes.
- Reduce the likelihood of related lawsuits.
- Adhere to all new laws and regulations.
- Ensure carriers will continue to grant coverage.
In light of recent lawsuits on the effects of concussion on student-athletes, education institutions should carefully review all existing and future insurance coverages. Reliance on current or prior insurance policies is not a guarantee. Although prior policies may not have specifically addressed concussion-related losses, there may be inherent restrictions if:
- Your coverage is or was written on a claims-made form.
- The limits are not adequate.
- There were other exclusions or terms which preclude coverage.
Risks & Implications across the Institution
There are numerous factors on an education institution’s campus that may contribute to added risk for the organization— which demonstrates the need for a more enterprise-wide approach to risk management and insurance. When your insurance coverages are placed in silos, there are often costly implications throughout your institution.
For example, a common oversight in student health plans may be driving up the cost of your institution’s intercollegiate sports premiums. In some states, if your student health insurance plan is not properly designed, student-athletes who are injured as a result of their participation in intercollegiate sports, may not receive any benefits. In these cases, your intercollegiate sports insurance policy is required to pay 100% of the claim—instead of paying only the excess costs not covered by the primary insurance as it was designed. Additionally, risks that may arise during student activities may have implications beyond the inherent dangers of the activity itself. Athletes may suffer from mental health issues as a result of the pressures to succeed on and off the field. Many safety concerns related to student activities are linked to other broader risks that the institution may be battling. As a result, a one-off solution crafted within the individual program or department will be ineffective in ultimately protecting students and mitigating safety risks across the board.
On Friday, April 26 RCM&D will be hosting the webinar “Implementation of Athletic Injury Prevention Programs.” The session will provide cutting edge research and trends in injury prevention in athletics, including for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), from renowned researcher Dr. Richard Kent, one of the lead biomedical researchers for the National Football League (NFL). Click here to learn more and sign up for the free webinar.
Contact a trusted advisor to learn more about how you can mitigate risk exposures, ensure adequate coverage for your athletic programs and keep up-to-date with evolving regulations.
The issue of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) was ranked as one of the top risks for education institutions in the RCM&D report 2019 Outlook: Top Risks for Education Institutions. To receive a copy of the full report, please complete the form to the right.
Complete this form to request an email copy of the full 2019 Outlook: Top 10 Risks for Educational Institutions report.
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