About 15 years ago, entertainment and recreation specialist K&K Insurance included bowling facilities in their entertainment center program. Today, bowling warrants its own program—complete with property, general liability, inland marine, crime, commercial auto, liquor liability, excess liability and workers’ compensation policies.
The reason for the program’s expansion to a bowling-specific view? According to K&K Recreation Division Senior Vice President Lita Mello, it’s the ongoing expansion of bowling facilities to include other activities as a way to draw in more money.
“Bowling facilities are expanding into that area of having much more than just bowling exposures,” Mello said. “They’ll have the soft play areas, the games and the inflatables.”
Mello attributes the changes in bowling facilities to the recent economic downturn, which has forced many owners to reevaluate their offerings and try to identify new ways to bring in cash. The added exposures not only mean bowling accounts are more complex, it means they present an added attraction to independent agents and brokers.
To really succeed in working with bowling accounts—whether as a specialist or as a local agent servicing one account—agents must stay on top of these new developments to make sure their client is properly covered.
This is especially important when working with newer or less sophisticated operations, which may install new attractions without an awareness of the risk they pose. K&K marketing representative Lorena Hatfield says it’s often up to agents to bring the new risk to the attention of both the client and the underwriter working on the account.
“Some of these unique activities don’t sound dangers, but there is a lot of risk involved,” Hatfield explained. “Trampolines, for example, require a lot of safety procedures to be put in place as well as some good underwriting.”
Although visiting clients regularly is the best approach for an agent, keeping abreast of offerings via an entertainment center’s website is also crucial.
Another emerging risk for bowling centers is the presence of alcohol on the premise.
This is something Molly Schory, senior underwriter for K&K’s recreation division, has seen quite often. While many rates for liquor liability insurance are based on the litigiousness and history of an area’s legal jurisdiction she says there are a few things establishments can do to present a differentiated view of their risk.
“We do have facilities go through a state-approved training program like TIPS,” Schory said. “We like to see [establishments] implement control measures, such as a two-drink limit at a time, or shutting own liquor sales an hour before the facility closes.
“Having a designated driver program in place also helps.”