As crazy as things have been lately and with the rush to start providing our classes online the most overlooked item is insurance coverage and liability. More specifically whether or not we can be held liable should a participant be injured in their home while participating in your online class. The answer to that is YES, you can be.
While coverages vary by company and even Country, if you have insurance, you will want to contact your provider as to what specific rules they have for you to follow in order to be protected. If you don't have insurance, you may want to get some. And no, your gym insurance will not cover you when you are teaching from home.
For example in my case I have K&K Insurance coverage which I obtained through the Zumba® website because they offer a discount. When I contacted them in regards to this very question in regards to my specific coverage this is the response I received.
As of 3/1/20, covered operations under the policy now includes: Virtual training/instruction under your direct supervision or organized by you (you = the named insured on the policy). The intent of this wording is to provide coverage for operations that involve live online streaming/real-time instruction with your clients/members via the internet. The instructor should be able to communicate visually and verbally with the participants at all times during instruction. Recorded training sessions of covered sports/activities are also approved provided that ONLY your registered members/clients have access.
We expect that all reasonable precautions will still be taken when assessing potential new clients online, including but not limited to: health assessments, waivers/release forms, and interviews with clients prior to instruction or training. We encourage our clients to consult with their attorney to consider special waiver/release agreements that will apply specifically to online streaming/real-time instruction.
Please note, virtual training/instruction does not extend to any training/instruction that includes gymnastic apparatuses, tumbling, or stunting (including pyramids), or in-water activities. The policy is not intended to extend to online streaming/real-time instruction or recorded videos/sessions that are accessible by the general public/non-members. We do not provide coverage for cyber liability, so if you are taking payment or collecting personal information online and it is compromised, there would be no coverage under the general liability policy.
Underwriting Specialist I
K&K Insurance Group, Inc.
Of course I then followed up asking if I have a student complete and digitally accept my online waiver BEFORE they access my stream, will I be covered? Here was his response.
That sounds to me like your members/clients are signing your online waiver then. If that is also who is accessing your pre-recorded sessions, you already have a waiver started. You may wish to speak to an attorney in your area to discuss your particular needs to ensure your waiver is sufficient.
Underwriting Specialist I
K&K Insurance Group, Inc.
Let's break it down as there is some very specific text that we must abide by in order to be covered should a participant be injured.
As you can see there are steps you must take to make sure you are in compliance with your insurance companies rules in order to be covered in the event of a lawsuit.
However, it pretty much goes without saying that, regardless of which company you use, the biggest thing you need to do is obtain signed liability waiver before your students participate. This can be done either via paper or through a secure Online Liability Waiver (like mine) which gathers your student information for your records and then redirects them to your stream or recording.
Because without a waiver, you could get into serious trouble financially and your insurance company will not help.
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