USA-WSWS Members, I hope 2021 is off to a great start. Snow and cold temperatures may be covering most of the country, but spring and summer are right around the corner and we are excited to get back on the water. After an unprecedented year in 2020 with many event cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are eager to get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. As a country we are getting closer to widespread distribution of the vaccine. However, we also need to get used to the “new normal” when it comes to COVID-19 protocols at USA-WSWS sanctioned events. As you gear up for the season, please review and familiarize yourself with the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports COVID-19 Resources on the website. Here you can find FAQs, Return to Play Guidelines and the COVID-19 questionnaire/waiver for clubs and LOCs hosting events. One major change to the USA-WSWS general liability insurance policy for 2021, of which members and especially clubs/LOCs that sanction events need to be aware, is an exclusion in the policy for claims arising from communicable disease, including COVID-19. This exclusion was not a USA-WSWS choice but rather a shift in the insurance marketplace. Please read the below from EPIC, our insurance broker, relative to the change: "Given the widespread impact of the pandemic and the potential for COVID-19 liability claims to arise as businesses continue operations (including the return to play of amateur sports activities), the insurance industry has expressed concerns about its ability to handle these potential claims, including class action lawsuits. While a few states have passed immunity laws to protect businesses and facilities from these claims, most states have not passed any legislation and no federal protections exist. Even though the burden of proof would be on the claimants (i.e., proving that the virus was contracted at a certain location on a certain date and time because of negligence on the part of someone else), the cost to defend these claims could be cost-prohibitive for the insurance industry to absorb. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and these concerns, most liability insurance carriers have introduced communicable disease exclusions over the past year and these exclusions are likely to remain for the foreseeable future. In many cases, reinsurance markets have mandated that these exclusions be introduced by insurance carriers. These exclusions amend the “bodily injury” coverage afforded under standard General Liability and Umbrella/Excess Liability insurance policies to exclude coverage for claims arising out of the transmission of a communicable disease (such as COVID-19, avian flu, SARS, and other transmittable viruses)." With these insurance exclusions now in place, we are encouraging all clubs and LOCs hosting USA-WSWS sanctioned events to strictly follow all local and state guidelines. If guidelines contradict each other, follow the stricter of the two. In addition, it should be noted the participant accident coverage for members who participate in USA-WSWS sanctioned events only applies to claims relative to specific injuries sustained during sanctioned competition. Contraction of a disease or virus (COVID-19) is not covered under the participant accident policy as the policy is designed to cover physical injury and not sickness/disease/illness. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 Return to Play guidelines, event sanctioning or other insurance related items, please firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your membership and continued support of our organization. We look forward to seeing you on the water soon.
- Nate Boudreaux