People who are interested in losing weight, building muscles, or staying fit by adhering to a strict exercise regime, prefer hiring a personal trainer who can provide them with the necessary support and guidance. However, clients can become easily ruffled if they feel that the recommended personal training program resulted in illness or injury.
Depending upon the severity of the situation, they may even consider suing their personal trainer. Over the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the number of clients suing their trainers for negligence.
A number of lawsuits have been settled in favor of clients and have resulted in the courts awarding a substantial sum of money to the plaintiff. Hence, liability insurance for personal trainers has assumed a great deal of significance.
Liability Insurance Applicable for Personal Trainers
General liability insurance coverage protects the insured (fitness center) in the event of being sued for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury. The insurance company covers the cost of actual damages as well as compensation for pain and suffering and other general damages.
However, money that is awarded to the successful litigant for punishing the defendant/fitness center has to be borne by the business, since punitive damages will not be covered by insurance companies.
Personal Liability Insurance
Fitness center employees, viz. personal trainers, maintenance crew, and salespeople may be covered by their employer’s general liability insurance policy. However, personal trainers who are working as independent contractors, are required to have personal insurance to protect their clients and themselves against personal injury and property loss. Otherwise, a trainer who is sued may be forced to pay for losses out of his/her own pocket.
Professional Liability Insurance
A client who relies on the expertise of a personal trainer with regard to the efficacy and the safety of exercises, may sue the trainer for actual or alleged errors, omissions, negligence, breach of duty, or misleading statements. This form of insurance covers the insured against loss or damage due to negligence in the discharge of professional service.
Professional liability insurance is also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance or E&O Insurance. It is a supplement to general liability insurance for lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and others who provide services to clients for a fee, since general insurance does not protect professionals from claims with regard to errors and omissions.
Public Liability Insurance
In countries like Australia and the UK, professional associations demand that one should have public liability insurance in order to become a personal trainer or a coach. Insurance for trainers is meant to protect the insured in the event of being sued by a member of the public. This policy provides coverage for claims pertaining to property damage and bodily injury.
As mentioned earlier, fitness center employees may be covered by the employer’s commercial general liability insurance (CGL). Independent contractors, on the other hand, should definitely avail liability insurance for personal trainers to protect themselves against property loss and personal injury lawsuits.
By John Hester