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Accident and Health Sports Coverage

LeBron James or Tiger Woods may look invincible as they tower over competitors or muscle a 350-yard drive, but even they are vulnerable to unexpected risks. They face unique financial and personal risks in their careers, not only for themselves, but for the nearly half-trillion dollar U.S. sports industry that depends on the health and performance of its athletes.

It is not surprising that all of the players in this lucrative industry – the talent, teams and sponsors –want to make sure that their skin in the game is secure.

Planning Ahead

Specialized insurance, classified as Accident and Health Sports Coverage, is available for the thousands of organizations and individuals that make up the sports industry.

The most common type of coverage, Personal Accident, includes Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Permanent Total Disability (such as a career-ending injury), Accidental Medical Expenses, Temporary Total Disability (a form of income replacement following an accident or illness), and Partial Disability.

According to Rupesh Appannah, Senior Accident, Health and Special Risks Broker with London-based Chesterfield Group, these policies are most often sought out by teams and sports clubs. In the event of a career-ending injury or death, the clubs will receive a benefit, and then pay a benefit to the estate. Some firms like Chesterfield Group also offer Temporary Disability plans, as a weekly or monthly benefit, which can protect both the player and the team’s payroll.

Athletes can purchase coverage on their own as well, called Player Own Benefit policies. “Personal Accident coverage purchased by a team may not always be sufficient to fully cover an athlete – so athletes may need to top this up to ensure they are, well, covered,” says Appannah. “Even when the team has a policy in place, a player may look at the policy and determine that additional coverage is necessary.”

Responsible Sponsors

Sponsors can opt in too, to cover any contracts they have with athletes. For example, in late 2009, as Tiger Woods’ infidelity drama remained steadfast on the front page of the New York Post for twenty straight days, executives at Nike or Gillette might have slept more soundly with a Death, Disablement or Disgrace policy, which covers sports personalities, celebrity advertising and sponsorship contracts, Appannah said.

After all, on-the-field injuries aren’t the only risks in the sports industry. When heavy rainfall caused severe flooding to the stadium and forced the X Games to cancel a Global Rallycross event in Barcelona in 2013, the organization recouped lost revenue and the costs of rescheduling from their insurance plan covering Contingency, Cancellation, Non-appearance, Adverse Weather and Abandonment of Events.

Kidnap & Ransom Protection

For athletes (or any other high-net-worth individuals) who travel frequently, Chesterfield Group also offers Kidnap and Ransom and Emergency Evacuation plans. This protection would have covered Formula 1 champion Jenson Button when he was ambushed after a race in Brazil, or PGA Tour golfer Robert Allenby when he was kidnapped and robbed after a tournament in Hawaii earlier this year.

After all, with every high-impact collision or off-field incident professional athletes face, they are also carrying the weight of the teams, agents and sponsors who depend on them. So it is wise for all involved to plan ahead for any accidents that might occur.

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