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6 Claim Trends Summer Camps Are Facing

From concussions to natural disasters, here’s how to help summer camps protect against the most common claims.
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6 claim trends summer camps are facing

While camps and recreation programs are already well into their busy season, they can't ignore their risk management and insurance needs. The initial plans they made for the season simply may not be adequate.

There are many different trends in the types of claims these customers are submitting. Here are the top six claim trends among our camp customers at Church Mutual across the country:

1) Concussions are a serious injury that can lead to hefty medical bills. While sports and outdoors organizations are thankfully paying more attention to the effects of concussions than they did 20 years ago, these types of injuries still occur. The more active young people are, the more likely they are to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

During your conversations with camp directors and those who run athletic programs, check to see if they have appropriate medical coverage for these types of incidents.

2) Mental health is as much of a concern as physical health. Camps have been reporting a growing mental health crisis among youth today. There are significantly more incidents than in decades past, whether that is between campers or between campers and staff members. As a result, camps are bringing in mental health professionals, such as social workers, psychologists and therapists.

While these individuals do important work, they may also pose a liability. Make sure camps are looking at their policies to see if they are covered for these additional staffers.

3) Wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters are major issues for some parts of the country. Climate change has led to an increased number of natural disasters and other damaging weather issues, including hail. Any organization that runs most of its programs outdoors needs to be prepared for worst-case scenarios, have an evacuation plan and review what specific catastrophe-related coverage would be appropriate.

4) Sexual abuse incidents continue to occur. A single claim is one too many. At camps, these charges can involve both a staff member and camper interactions and interactions between campers.

Unfortunately, there are often too many opportunities for predators to make their move. Administrators should perform criminal background checks on both employees and staff members. They also need to make sure campers are properly supervised. An older camper, for example, should not be spending any one-on-one time with a younger camper.

As you converse with these organizations, ask what steps they are taking to manage this risk and whether they have appropriate insurance for sexual abuse claims.

5) Esports are becoming a security risk as more camps offer them. Esports, or electronic sports, refers to multiplayer video games in which children compete against other players. It can open a camp's network to cybersecurity concerns—but there are steps camps can take to protect themselves:

  • Allow system access only to those who have been approved.
  • Hire a security vendor to perform an audit and install security software.
  • Use supervisors to make sure campers log out of apps and websites when they are finished using them.
  • Keep software up to date, staying on top of the latest upgrades and encouraging campers to do the same with their own devices.
  • Encourage staff members to create strong passwords for their accounts so they are more difficult to hack.
  • Conduct criminal background checks on all staff and volunteers to lower their chance of hiring a cybercriminal.
  • Develop a written policy on cybersecurity, which can serve as a legal defense if a lawsuit arises.
  • Purchase cybersecurity insurance.

6) Property values are increasing. One of the major effects of inflation is that property values have increased, as have the costs of building materials. As a result, many camps may be underinsured. Insurance agents can make sure clients are adequately prepared, which could involve a reassessment of their insurance needs.

For camps and recreation programs, every day presents a new challenge. When camps are properly protected, camp officials can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on their mission of serving youth.

Tracy Schmeltzer is assistant vice president of camps, agency and groups, at Church Mutual

Friday, June 9, 2023
Commercial Lines