23 May 2019

Trampoline park insurance on the rebound

Easy to set up for relatively little investment, trampoline parks have burgeoned over the past five years, but now the trend is in reverse with insurance cover increasingly difficult to obtain.

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“The hardening of rates, which previously were very low, reflect a realisation by the insurance market of the cost of actual claims,” says Senior Sports Broker, Tim Roarty, who specialises in recreational activities insurance.

“Both commercial recreational centres and various sports involving the use of trampolines have experienced a number of significant claims in recent times, both locally and globally.

“Insurers have reduced capacity, increased excesses, sub-limited certain covers and specified certain risk mitigation criteria be met prior to review, which in itself increases safety for the participants, which is always paramount.”

Roarty cites Lloyd’s of London as an example of reduced insurer willingness to take on trampolining risks. The international insurer has jettisoned its lowest performing 10% of business, affecting not only trampoline parks but equestrian activities also.

“The only way to get trampolining insurance is to be really committed to achieving a comfort level with insurance provider, the more detail, the merrier,” he says.

The issues involved include

  • voluntary safety standards. Last year Standards Australia published the Australian Standard for trampoline parks, AS 5159. 1.2018, but adaptation of the recommendations is not mandatory
  • oversight of trampoline users. Staff need to be able to monitor and control numbers of children using the equipment at the same time
  • adequate signage and enforcement of restrictions on activities. Staff must be capable of preventing users from engaging in prohibited behaviour
  • safety checks throughout the day, also a staffing issue.

Another problem with the trampoline park sector is that operators represent an extremely wide spectrum, from people who are passionate about the sport to opportunistic entrepreneurs with little understanding of the rigour involved in correctly performing manoeuvres such as multiple somersaults.

“It’s a really tricky industry that has had some concerning claims, and the market has changed accordingly,” Roarty says. “Operators should make sure they can demonstrate proactive risk management, following the Australian Standard and detailing how your business complies, and getting a liability surveyor to conduct an audit, which is an in-house service that Gallagher provides.

“It’s a lot of effort and risk mitigation can be costly. Even with providing all of the supporting information there’s no guarantee you will get cover, even if you have done so previously.”

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For expert guidance on obtaining cover for your trampoline park operation, get in touch with one of our insurance experts.

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