46 Million Americans Are Visiting - Are Campgrounds and RV Parks Ready for the Risks?


While COVID-19 has decimated the travel industry this year, 46 million Americans are still vacationing at campgrounds and RV parks across the country.

This comes as no surprise when you consider 46% of recent survey respondents said they want to spend time outdoors after staying home for so long. They're looking for safe ways to vacation. No one wants to be at crowded airports or on crowded flights, or worry about the hassle and expense of cancellations. They want flexible options and to keep socially-distant with open spaces in ways hotels don't offer. Road trips and RV parks are a smart alternative, and family campgrounds have reported full spring and summer occupancy, with bookings already starting for prime spots for 2021.

"With this surge in visitors, campgrounds are taking significant precautions for COVID-19," says Krystal Allen, Assistant Vice President of Underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies. "But your campground owner clients shouldn't forget about the other more common safety risks they'll continue to face."

As one of the largest underwriters of campground and RV park insurance protecting Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campgrounds, American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) Clubs, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), and others, Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) is well aware of the challenges these sites and businesses encounter. It's smart to team up with a PHLY risk manager to look at a park's entire risk picture and what may not fall in the scope of general liability coverage.

Beyond COVID-19: Three common risks faced by RV parks and campgrounds

Activities, Building and Grounds Upkeep, and Staff Management are three top risk categories critical to both guest and employee safety and enjoyment. Campgrounds and RV parks can mitigate their most common risk exposures with a focus on these.

Activities

This year, families continue to choose locations based on onsite activities and recreation, proximity to local cultural events and attractions, pet-friendliness, and wi-fi availability.

Kid-friendly activities popular with families include:

  • Fishing and boating
  • Miniature golf, basketball, tennis courts
  • Playgrounds, climbing walls, horseshoe pits
  • Swimming pools and water slides
  • Jumping pillows and jumping pads
  • Horseback riding
  • Bicycle rentals
  • And more

With activities come risk exposure. While some preventive measures are common sense (keeping areas clean and dry to help eliminate accidents), campgrounds should ensure equipment is used correctly, inspected for wear and tear, in warranty, and serviced on schedule. Facilities should know if a proper risk transfer to the manufacturer or repair companies is in place.

Staff should be instructed on correct equipment usage and follow all safety procedures and guidelines. (Training may need to be developed or repeated if knowledge holes are found.) Also, if transportation is provided to and from activities, appropriate coverages and driver training need to be in place.

And, if RV parks or campgrounds are looking to introduce another activity, such as the popular new barrel train, Krystal says it may be wise to consult with their insurance company beforehand to make sure that the activity can be insured.

With such a vast category, a risk manager has the broad experience necessary to identify many areas of exposure and develop solutions so your campground clients aren't facing them alone.

Building and Grounds Upkeep

When you consider the most substantial losses incurred by your campground clients are for slips and falls or being struck by a falling object, it's clear why upkeep plays such an essential role in risk management.

RV parks and camps are home away from home for their visitors. That's why many offer facilities and functions for:

  • Laundry
  • Kitchens
  • Shopping
  • Bathing
  • Gatherings

Keeping these structures maintained for safety and preservation is critical. They should be inspected regularly for property damage, repair needs, and code updates.

Additionally:

  • If electricity service is offered, determine if it is the correct amperage and that no wires are frayed. Schedule regular service and inspections.
  • When it comes to water, make sure the main source is safe and meets usage needs (for showers, toilets, stores, restaurants), and that hookups are clean and functional. If a septic system is used, it should be maintained and serviced regularly.
  • If food is offered, licensing and handling procedures need to be understood and in place.
  • If selling gas or LPG, determine proper procedures and storage.
  • Stay on top of the condition of concrete pads for any cracks and repairs.

Grounds keeping is also an essential priority throughout the campground - for both a neat appearance and safety.

  • Stay on top of tree health and remove any diseased or damaged limbs to keep them from falling and injuring people.
  • Keep pathways clear of debris and fallen branches to help prevent falls and injuries and reduce the risk of brush fires.

Last, monitoring Mother Nature is a never-ending responsibility to help plan for and minimize weather damage from tornadoes, hurricanes, rain, snow, and ice.

"Owners have made a significant financial investment in their RV Park or campground. Keeping it attractive and safe will protect that investment. And doing so can be made easier with guidance from an experienced risk manager," says Krystal.

Staff Management

It takes an army of employees to keep parks running and create a carefree experience for guests. That's why having a safe and fulfilling environment for the staff is critical to success and everyone's comfort.

Providing proper training for responsibilities is a must, whether for a lifeguard, trail guide, van driver, reservations assistant, or someone handling office payroll. But it may be hard to find the expertise needed to cover such wide-ranging jobs and skill sets. Risk services and partnerships available through PHLY can help bridge the expertise gap, with:

  • New hire orientation and training
  • Strategies and training to survive an armed intruder
  • Liability and coverage for medical professionals and care
  • CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training
  • Driver training and vehicle telematics tools to provide driver tracking

"Ensuring staff comfort and knowledge makes for happy employees, and happy guests," says Krystal. "It's something everyone will appreciate after what we've been through with COVID-19."

Now, more than ever, your RV Park clients need to be ready for risk

While COVID-19 may have started this year's surge of visitors, it's up to RV parks and campgrounds to reassure guests they are the safest and best vacation solution today - and in the future.

Providing your RV Park and campground owner clients with the risk management guidance and insurance coverages they need can help them offer guests a secure and unforgettable visit. PHLY has been covering more than 120 niche businesses' unique needs for over 50 years and is a trusted resource for KOA Kampgrounds, AANR Clubs, ARVC, and others. Read about the risk management services offered by PHLY and their partners and the unique coverages available.

We look forward to developing solutions for your clients. Visit our product page or contact your PHLY rep to learn more.

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