Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Note on Accident & Liability Insurance for Dojo Instructors

I have recently been doing a lot of research about accident and liability insurance and how it applies to me and my dojo. This is something of vital importance to every martial arts instructor and is not something that should be taken for granted, even if you are part of a larger organization that is supposed to have you covered insurance-wise.

Having spoken to the insurance broker responsible for our coverage, he told me of a number of horror stories in which sport participants were not covered by insurance because of technicalities that the sport association people in charge were not aware of.

I want to warn all martial arts school instructors everywhere that whether you have your own private accident/liability insurance coverage or you are obtaining it through a sporting organization, be sure to read your insurance policies in detail. If you're a member of a sports organization, make sure you also read its constitution and bylaws to so you can ensure that you are not operating in a way that would preclude the possibility of insurance coverage.

There can be a number of loopholes that could limit your insurance coverage and it is your responsibility to yourself and your dojo's students to be fully informed so as to ensure safe training for all.

(P.S. I haven't forgotten about my promise to do up a video showing some ground defense in application. I promise to get to it next. Sorry for the delays...)


Ice said...

The thing to remember with insurance is that you have to file and file early. Document everything. Sometimes things gets "lost" while filing insurance claims. If you neglect to file for insurance within 60 days you can technically lose coverage. Always follow up with phone calls/faxes or what not to make sure things get taken cared of.

A lot of the claim forms will need witnesses who are also members of the organization.

I know most places here won't let you step onto the mat unless you have the national insurance that is provided by one of the big organizations.

And yes there's a lot of fine print. Big thing is that most big insurance have a $2,500 deductible, meaning that unless it's something big such as surgery, it's not really worth it to pursue it. Or it's secondary insurance, meaning that it covers what your other insurance does not.

And yes there can be horror stories. Just stick to your guns. Document, Document, Document. Keep a phone call log. A mail log. When talking to insurance representatives make sure to note down their names and extension. Make sure you have all your documents in order. Remember to do everything as prompt as possible because there are "timers" that make your claim void if you don't file the right paper work at the right time.

And as you said read the fine print!

Anonymous said...

Take your time: we've been doing alot of ground-defenses lately, my sensei's methods are actually very similar to yours. No wonder since he's also training in shooto/mixfight. Just yesterday we did bridging-drills from under the mount and they work suprisingly well, especially when you add a knee to the lower back and other goodies. Good training which should be repeated often.


PS: I've got a question for you. What do you do when someone announces they want to quit training? There's a woman (around mid 40's) who's been training with us for a little more than a year now and suddenly she wants to give up. She hasnt' been to class in weeks so I sent her an sms to inquire and she said she's quitting. Naturally I asked her the reason but she hasn't replied yet. If she wants to quit it's her decision of course but it'd be a shame since she actally showed potential and she's one of the few women training with us. Being a man I don't really understand how women think but the training sometimes is a little rough and physically demanding (lots of push-ups, sit-ups and the like) so that could be it. For some reason there are people who seem to be intimidated by me (especially women and beginners), I can be quite intense when training but I never use more force than necessary and I always show respect to my training partners. I do try to tone it down a bit when training with certain people but sooner or later they're going to have to learn that in order to succesfully defend yourself it's necessary to summon a certain amount of aggression and show an indomitable spirit. Merely knowing techniques and being able to do them in the comfort of the dojo is not enough and attitude still is about 50% of the martial arts. Psychological defeat (giving up, doubting yourself) nearly always precedes physical defeat. Lately I've been thinking about taking up a part time job in security or bouncing, not to beat people up (in spite of some people's opinion I'm still a fairly nice guy) but to test my techniques and skill in a real life setting. Since philosophy isn't exactly a marketable skill I'm thinking about seeking employment with either the army, the police or private security. I'm sure a background in martial arts can't hurt when applying for those kinds of jobs, at least when you're not too gung-ho about it.

Lori O'Connell said...

Zara, to answer your question about what I do when people quit. If someone says that they're giving up on their training, I would try to talk to them either on the phone or in person if possible. Failing that, I'd send them an email. I'd say that I was sorry you to lose them and ask if there was any particular reason why that ending their training. If they have a specific concern, I would offer to try and fix the situation if it is indeed something that can be rectified without compromising the dojo. But if I feel that they can't be addressed without compromising the quality of training, then I wish them well in their future endeavours.

Sometimes people don't really give a reason and you just have to let them go and not over-analyze it though. People come and go and you just keep doing what you believe in.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply, you’re probably right and it will happen again so it’s best not to read too much into it. It’s just that this is the first student who’s been actually been with us for quite a while and still quits so it’s only natural to wonder why. It’s a shame when you see someone who could actually become good at this leave: her yellow belt test was by far the best yet and I’ve seen her grow, both mentally and physically. On top of that I spent a considerable amount of time training one-on-one with her on the side (which was more beneficial to her than to me since it basically involved me teaching and reviewing the material seen in class) so it does feel like a waste of my time and attention. Ah well, she called me yesterday and I tried to convince her to stay but in the end it’s her decision, I just hope she won’t regret it or quit for the wrong reasons. It’s still significant she let me know instead of sensei: apparently I’ve become a sort of go-between in the dojo, when students have complaints or remarks generally they go to me first and I inform sensei. Kinda like the role of a sergeant who runs the platoon when it comes to day-to-day affairs while the lieutenant makes the major decisions. It’s nice to be trusted and to be involved in the dojo, taking some of the weight of sensei’s back. Running a dojo all by yourself (he’s the only senior teacher and black belt up to date) isn’t a picnic but so far he’s doing a great job and the students are generally content and their numbers are increasing gradually. Normally there are always at least 6 or 7 of us on the mat every class with a total of 12 registered students, not bad for a dojo that’s relatively young.


PS: apparently the main reason why she quit is because she’s very insecure and had some mental problems in the past, you’d think that’s even more reason to continue in the martial arts since they’re all about becoming strong physically and mentally but she seems to think otherwise. It’s tough being a relative newcomer, I found that training becomes much easier with time and so does motivation (at least in my case).