Why Schools and Sports Still Need Accident Insurance during COVID-19


COVID-19 has caused shut downs or modifications in almost all aspects of life. Unfortunately, it looks like we will be living with these restrictions and changes for some time to come.

If your school clients have general liability insurance, you both may question whether accident insurance coverage is necessary at a time when schools are closed and sports are shut down. After all, do schools really need to worry about reimbursing medical expenses in case of a participant's injury when no one is together?

You both may be surprised to learn the answer is yes.

"If a school or team is directing any activity during COVID-19, supervised or not, they may still be liable if someone is injured," says Michael Flood, Vice President of the Accident and Health unit at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY). "Accident coverage continues to protect them in situations they may never have even considered a risk."


School May Not Be in Session, But the Chance of an Accident Is

With much of the world's K-12 schools, colleges, and universities turning to virtual classes and virtual events during coronavirus, the risk of accident or injury happening to a student may seem nil. But, believe it or not, accidents still happen, and schools may be liable.

"One school's student was at home participating in a Zoom session when he fell out of his chair and hit his head," Flood explains. "A visit to the ER was required, along with stitches. As an exception, the school's accident policy covered the expenses because it was something that happened to the student while he was participating in school-directed classroom instruction."

Because the class was a virtual event and they were not physically together, an incident like this probably wouldn't have been imagined as a risk or possibility before COVID-19. But today's new exposures are bringing new coverage responsibilities and interpretations into effect.


Practice Makes Perfect - Except When It Doesn't

While many schools' sports seasons have been suspended or significantly curtailed, sports are still being played with safeguards in place, particularly non-contact, outdoor activities such as tennis and golf.

The same may go for soccer or football practices where coaches are opting for contactless positions or skills training. But even though practices have been modified or shortened, trainings, games, and matches still come with injury risk. As always, medical expenses can be covered by accident insurance when injuries happen. However, a different sports injury exposure for schools or clubs is now coming to light.

"Although not physically together, a coach may instruct his team to keep up with their physical conditioning on their own. Suppose an athlete hurts herself because she is doing what she was told to do by the coach, even if not under direct supervision. In that case, as an exception due to COVID-19, we'll consider the medical expenses incurred as a result of that injury," says Flood. "They would be covered by the accident policy."


PHLY Reacted Quickly To Protect Your School and Sports Clients at the Start of COVID-19

Early at the start of the pandemic, PHLY's underwriters quickly realized the importance of covering virtual and individual activities where participants were instructed to learn at home or practice on their own. PHLY understood that any activity directed by the school or team, whether supervised or not, had risk potential.

PHLY acted fast to make special considerations under their accident policies. It's one of the many reasons PHLY is a leading provider of group blanket accident insurance for participants, K-12 students, and intercollegiate sports athletes. Our customers know that PHLY never stops looking out for risks that could impact them when other insurers don't.


An Affordable Coverage Enhanced for Today's Challenges

A PHLY accident insurance policy is economically-priced and provides invaluable peace of mind for your clients. Because it helps pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copays if an accident happens, the family isn't burdened with unexpected medical costs. It reduces the chance of the injured party suing for reimbursement. It also reduces the chance of the liability policy being utilized. It's a solid and cost-effective way to manage emerging, unexpected risks during these uncertain times.


Accidents Are Still Happening as Usual

Your clients may be liable in new ways if accidents happen while students or athletes are under their virtual care or direction. Choose their accident insurance from a company that is always thinking of what's best for your client and looks beyond the obvious to protect what's necessary.

That's what PHLY's Accident and Health unit does, drawing from its underwriting team's decades of experience to understand the unique accident and injury protection needs of participants, K-12 students, and intercollegiate athletes.

Learn more about how PHLY can help your clients today. Visit our product page or contact your PHLY Rep.

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