Bootcamp training has steadily grown over the past decade with no signs of slowing down. It is exhilarating to work in a profession where, not only are you able to help others, but the income possibilities have no ceiling.
However, along with the positive industry growth has come an increased number of lawsuits against personal trainers. Lawsuits claiming professional negligence are very costly and can financially devastate you and your business.
All businesses, including bootcamp trainers, need to carry general liability insurance. However, a general liability policy in itself won’t completely protect you in your role as a professional instructor. Bootcamp trainers need additional protection if sued due to injuries caused by improper equipment use, failure to correct exercise form, or pushing someone too hard. This is where personal trainer professional liability insurance comes to the rescue!
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance is a an important form of insurance especially for bootcamp trainers. Coverage is specifically designed to handle claims brought on by clients who are harmed because of a professional service you provide.
Professional liability insurance is also referred to as errors and omissions (E&O) coverage. Professional Liability policies will cover claims if someone is harmed due to your mistake (an error). In addition, the policy also covers you if you failed to perform a service expected of your profession (an omission).
Examples of Potential Lawsuits
Bootcamp trainers have very specialized knowledge. Your expertise in fitness and training is why clients pay you to help them achieve their goals. Because of your experience and education, you are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism.
Unfortunately, circumstances can and do occur which may cause harm to one of your clients. Consider the following actions where a client could become injured:
- Trains using improper technique.
- Uses exercise equipment incorrectly.
- Collapses from exhaustion or overexertion.
- Attempts exercise routines outside of their ability.
- Suffers an allergic reaction to a suggested supplement.
These risks are specific to bootcamp trainers. As such, coverage in the event of a lawsuit will be provided only under a professional liability policy for a bootcamp trainer.
The Role of Waivers
Risk management best practices recommend bootcamp trainers have their clients sign a waiver. A waiver is an agreement stating your client will hold you harmless in the event they become injured training with you. At a minimum, liability waivers can act as a deterrent from clients suing you.
Although waivers are an excellent mechanism to reduce your exposure to being sued, they are not bulletproof. Every state has different laws regarding waivers. Certain circumstances may allow a waiver to be upheld, while other situations could be disregarded entirely by the judge. And, in all circumstances, you will have attorney’s fees, whether or not your liability waiver holds up.
What Coverage Could Professional Liability Insurance Provide?
The goal of professional liability policies for bootcamp trainers is to cover lawsuits alleging professional negligence. As a bootcamp trainer, you are expected to uphold a certain level of professional standard and a high level of knowledge within your field.
Should a lawsuit be levied against you professionally, most professional liability policies will provide coverage for:
- Court fees
- Legal costs
- Investigation costs
- Settlement or judgement amount
One of the most valuable aspects of a professional liability policy is the legal counsel provided by the insurance company. Bootcamp trainers named in a lawsuit often do not know where to turn. Fortunately, your insurance company has the resources needed to defend your case diligently.
Your professional liability policy may also provide additional cover for other types of claims and costs including:
- Loss of income
- Libel or slander
- Assault or battery
- Data compromise
- Sexual misconduct
- Licensing board investigation
Carefully review all your coverage options with a licensed insurance agent. Simply selecting the least expensive policy could financially ruin your career.
What is Not Covered by Professional Liability Insurance?
On the surface, professional liability policies may appear to be very broad in their scope of coverage. However, the reality is professional liability policies are very specific as to what will and will not be covered.
When purchasing a professional liability policy, be aware that the policy will have exclusions. At a minimum, the following exposures are not covered in a professional liability policy:
- Illegal act
- False advertising
- Property damage
- Employee injuries
- Automobile liability
- Employment disputes
- Intentional wrongdoing
- General liability exposures
Professional liability insurance should be just one part of your overall risk management and insurance program.
What is the Cost of Professional Liability Insurance? The premium you pay for professional liability insurance will depend on a few factors. Basic rating begins on the revenue you or your company generates from selling bootcamp training programs. Minimum premiums are often as low as $400 per year.
Starting with a base premium, the following variables will determine the final cost:
- Annual revenues
- Policy deductibles
- Prior claims history
- Industry experience
- Amount of insurance available per claim
- Aggregate limit of insurance available per policy period
Purchasing a professional liability policy is a balance between your budget and your overall insurance needs. Consider the maximum potential cost to defend and settle a claim and purchase a policy match your exposure.
Purchasing a professional liability insurance policy is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your career as a bootcamp trainer. Whether you are working in an established fitness center or going it alone, you need to protect your financial stability.
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