Feel the stretch: niche insurance for yoga instructors

It may not be the most strenuous exercise, but clients still get injured

Feel the stretch: niche insurance for yoga instructors

Insurance News

By Sam Boyer

Yoga may seem like a relaxing pastime, but yoga instructors can’t be too relaxed when it comes to keeping themselves covered.

If a client bends too far, injuries can occur, and an instructor could face a suit. If a stereo or electronic equipment fails and causes a fire, an instructor could be liable. It’s these non-relaxing elements of helping clients limber up that can cause headaches and financial heartache.

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Mark Beck, senior vice president of the mass merchandising division at K&K Insurance, a subsidiary of Aon, said yoga instructors – just like other niche fitness and health club professionals – need specialized insurance.

“Like most of the businesses we serve, and like any business really, there is an important need for liability insurance to protect them [yoga instructors] from losses, should anyone get injured participating in the activities. It’s a very important product for them to have,” Beck said.

“It’s in our insurance realm. We do specialize in the sports, leisure, recreation industries, and a part of that is health and fitness business. K&K, as a whole, writes virtually all types of health fitness facilities … of all sizes. As part of that, we also provide liability insurance for the fitness instructors.”

While some fitness centers or yoga studios may have insurance that covers an instructor, if they are operating as an independent contractor the facility insurance may not cover them individually. Equally, the coverage will need to extend to operations beyond a “regular” place of work.

“Their own policy will protect them wherever they might go. Their coverage goes with them. It’s a very important coverage to have,” Beck said.

And when it comes to claims activity for yoga instructors, there is a common theme as to when clients file suits against them.

“Generally speaking it’s going to be some kind of bodily injury claim,” Beck said. “If someone feels strongly enough that an instructor caused an injury, they could get an attorney and file a claim. This protection is going to help them defend themselves against that and help pay any damages they might be held liable for.”

Having said that, part of what makes yoga coverage different to other physical fitness instructors, is the form of exercise involved, he said.

“You do see a higher risk in higher exertion activities [like boot camps, for example],” Beck noted. “Sometimes yoga can be very challenging … but it is a much more controlled exposure, from our standpoint.”

The K&K program offers rates from $90 for full-time yoga instructors and $60 for part-time instructors. Coverage is available for both certified and non-certified fitness professionals. Coverage provided includes liability protection for claims alleging bodily injury and property damage arising out of the instructor’s operations. The policy also provides personal and advertising injury liability, legal liability to participants and professional liability for wrongful act claims resulting from instructor’s activities.

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