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Discussion: US club training events

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 6, 2016 4:47 PM # 
We are interested in starting a series of informal orienteering training events. I would like to hear from other US clubs that offer training events:
1. do you ask participants to sign a waiver?
2. do you count participants in your annual starts for OUSA reporting?
3. do you charge a fee?
Oct 6, 2016 5:03 PM # 
For CSU:
1. No
2. No
3. No*

We don't get many people showing up, so we treat it as an informal group of friends getting together for an evening run. But we're also doing very normal evening-run-type-activities, and not venturing into the dark and scary forest.

*Sometimes we ask for $1/map, but usually I just print them off at work.

*We have been scheming about starting something bigger with coached sessions, more like a traditional recreational soccer team or something. But that is still only in the planning stages. I'll be following this thread to see about the answers to 1. and 2., as that will probably be relevant if we ever get our Boston Center of Excellence off the ground.
Oct 6, 2016 5:35 PM # 
No-no-no for SMOC.

The parks do not require permits for events with fewer than 15 participants.
Oct 6, 2016 11:32 PM # 
Same for BAOC. Sometimes if one person prints all the maps, everyone else chips in a dollar or two. Other possibility is the organizer posts a pdf, everyone prints their own.
Oct 6, 2016 11:47 PM # 
Just to put us on a map but not to repeat information: I am doing similar things as Alex for New York City crowd, this year is our first informal series, with scores.
Planning to expand on this in the future.
Oct 7, 2016 1:04 AM # 
Tried to get a group going for two or three years, but had limited participation.
Oct 7, 2016 4:14 AM # 
1) yes
2) dunno
3) I don't
Oct 7, 2016 3:48 PM # 
Waivers are always a good idea. We do an annual season waiver for our regular attendees, so they don't have to fill one out at each event. Unfortunately we haven't had regular training events in quite a few years, so can't legitimately comment on the other issues.
Oct 7, 2016 3:53 PM # 
Not a club, but no/no/possibly a printing fee for when we gather military orienteers for training. Then again, insurance/waiver doesn't exactly apply when we are conducting military training that is in the line of duty. My favorite type of duty day!
Oct 7, 2016 3:56 PM # 
For QOC's Summer Short Series, 1) no, 2) no, 3) yes -- $5. All that money goes to the US Sr. Team ($1200 this year!). I highly recommend every club pick a team to support, ask for a small donation, and donate the proceeds. So easy, and a big win-win.
For our "gathering the usual suspects" training -- there are a couple different groups in QOC land that get together for informal training -- 3) no.
Oct 7, 2016 4:26 PM # 
Pink Socks:
For Cascade,

1) Yes. We use our online system for registration which allows us to set participant limits and prices (including free), and the system requires an online waiver.

2) No. I looked up the rules this year because we were invited to participate in a big (free) festival with thousands of people, and I didn't want to do it if we had to pay $1.50 per start. You don't have to count them as starts if a) there's no published start list or results, or 2) if it's a fundraiser for O-USA and its teams.

3) Depends. We've been offering formal instructor-led training for beginners and in these cases we charge (since we have participant limits, it helps ensure that people show up, and it also gives our training a sense of worth).

But if we're just doing some sprint intervals or something intended for existing orienteers, then no.
Oct 8, 2016 7:24 PM # 
Arctic: no, no, no. But these events have been few and mostly very informal
Oct 12, 2016 3:23 PM # 
Regardless of posted results, fundraising or whatever, if there is no insurance certificate for the event there is no insurance coverage for the event, at least not through OUSA. Period. Which means that if anything were to happen, you would be on your own, unless you got your own insurance.

This may be fine, but everyone involved should be informed.
Oct 12, 2016 4:25 PM # 
Thats not at all the understanding I have gotten from any other source before!
My understanding of the insurance certificates is that they are only a proof of insurance to show to a third party who wants verification, or a way of naming the third party as covered under our policy. I believe the liability insurance coverage is a general policy covering all events by OUSA and member clubs.
If that is not the case, then it is a useless policy, as it is not covering the many activities of a club that fall outside of formal races on land where a certificate is required.
Oct 12, 2016 4:32 PM # 
The OUSA insurance page has this text:
Do we have to notify the insurance company of every event?
No. Coverage applies without notice to the insurer. However, most land owners require proof of insurance in the form of a certificate of insurance. Some land owners also require an endorsement to be named an Additional Insured on the policy.
Oct 12, 2016 5:23 PM # 
Glen Schorr:

At Charlie-B's request I did research on this. I contacted our insurance agent directly and discussed this specific topic. I forwarded the info on to Charlie who posted it.

Here are the facts. Any event that receives an event certificate is covered under OUSA insurance. This includes club and supporting member events.

However if a club decides to hold a "rogue" or "renegade" event, or if a group of OUSA or club members decide to get together for an informal training, and someone gets hurt, you are not covered. If you do not have sanctioning, you aren't covered by OUSA.

I'm not saying this to discourage practice or folks getting together to run and informally orienteer. I just want all to be informed.

The alternative is that OUSA starts charging for, and clubs start counting, all starts, including practice, and passing along those charges to the insurance company in the form of higher premiums. In addition, clubs start filing applications for practices. More paperwork. More fees. No offsetting revenue. None of this sounds very appealing.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss further call me at 410.802.1125.

Oct 12, 2016 5:47 PM # 
Thanks, Glen, but that did not really address the larger question: What IS a covered activity/event?
Oct 12, 2016 6:12 PM # 
Does our insurance cover volunteers working at events? How about spectators? Club meetings or picnics?

None of those situations require any signatures (and shouldn't), but all have potential insurance need. If someone wanders by an orienteering event and trips over a wire, and sues the club hosting the event, can I assume the club is not at fault?

Specific to my club's situation, we have landowners who do not ask for insurance certificates. So we haven't been getting them. People still sign a waiver. Does this mean that those events are not covered?
Oct 12, 2016 7:23 PM # 
I find this disappointing, too. I asked the question because we (GAOC) want to host informal and free training events. However, we have to deal with the realities.

It seems that when an event is covered by a certificate, then everything that is part of that event is covered, including setting/vetting courses - no matter what the date, the event staff and volunteers and all attendees.

When an event is not covered by a certificate, then there is no coverage whatsoever.

Still unclear to me are things like mapping. Are club mappers covered? What if the mapping is for a specific event? What if no certificate has been issued for the event? What about third party mappers? Should they provide their own insurance? Should they have to provide proof of insurance if working for a club? Etc.

I'm sure these things can be addressed with the insurance company, but chances are that it will add to the overall cost. If so, would people pay for it? Or are people willing to take the risk?

On the other hand, the incremental extra cost may not be too much and perhaps there could be a different participation fee for that kind of activity.
Oct 12, 2016 8:01 PM # 
Perhaps "covered" by a certificate means could be covered. Theoretically, one could obtain a certificate for any OUSA member-club sponsored event or activity, that is not specifically excluded in the contract.
Oct 12, 2016 8:18 PM # 
I'm really confused by this talk about requiring a certificate. The certificates are just there as proof of the insurance policy, or to name an additionally insured. The OUSA insurance page specifically states that we do not need to notify the insurance company of every event, and that all club events are covered.
Is the insurance policy a general liability policy for club activities as it has been represented, or is it really just covering liability at specific events?
Oct 12, 2016 8:19 PM # 
There is a solution to this no- insurance phobia. Elect to government those that will institute meaningful universal health care. Then the participants and their insurers will not be so hell-bent on suing for every little bump and break. Perhaps it is time the US got in line with the rest of the 'first world'.
As one who puts on events in both Canada and the US I can tell you there are risks I would take as an orienteering organizer in Canada that I would not take in the States. I also see parks in the States much more concerned that the insurance certificate is in hand before they allow an event, even a training event, to happen. That is a cost I have to pass on to the participants.
Oct 12, 2016 8:22 PM # 
Its not just about the immediate medical costs if someone were to be injured at an event, but the possibility of them suing everyone involved for a large settlement claiming negligence, or whatever it is they want go after you for. In those cases the clubs, the landowners, the volunteers, OUSA, etc could all be on the receiving end of the suit, and are expecting protection under the OUSA liability policy.
Oct 12, 2016 8:39 PM # 
Well, I'm not sure that this is all that unusual when it comes to insurance. Whenever I have to exhibit and even sometimes when I have to visit certain university campuses - most notably the University of California system - I have to provide an insurance certificate with the host organization being named insured on the certificate. This is just to put my foot inside the door of UCLA Medical Center, for example, as a vendor. It isn't enough just to "be insured". This, of course, is used to reduce the host organization's own insurance costs by shifting the liability to their guests.
Oct 12, 2016 8:52 PM # 
In those cases you are still insured through your policy even if you don't give them a certificate. The certificate is just to prove to them that you have your own policy, and if they require it, to have them added as an additionally insured, which does shift liability to your policy instead of theirs.
What I'm hearing here though is that unless that proof of insurance is requested from our insurance carrier, the policy isn't in effect?
Oct 12, 2016 8:59 PM # 
That is a cost I have to pass on to the participants.

What cost? The certificates themselves cost nothing...
Oct 12, 2016 9:19 PM # 
What do you know that I don't know GuyO?
For each event getting a certificate I am turning over $1.50 (last time I checked) per participant to O-USA. As I understand it a large chunk of that goes to pay for the global insurance policy. Is there a way of getting around that?
To go back to edwarddes' point. Yes we read that when someone gets injured in the States and must find a way to pay the medical bills they go after everything and everyone expecting that the lawyer will take a big share and in a final settlement they will gt what they need for care. It is presumed that in Canada and elsewhere because it is know the medical costs will be covered there is less need, much less need, to litigate. It is usually only when there is catastrophic injury needing long term care that someone will sue and the courts usually rule fault with whatever organization has the 'deep pocket' ability to pay.
Oct 12, 2016 10:04 PM # 
edwarddes is not going to be the only person confused by some of the above posts. After all, when Glen Schorr writes:

Any event that receives an event certificate is covered under OUSA insurance. This includes club and supporting member events.

and then adds:

If you do not have sanctioning, you aren't covered by OUSA.

he is contradicting himself. The very vast majority of club events are unsanctioned, and I would guess that of these events a high percentage require clubs to present a certificate of insurance to the land owner before they can get permission to hold the event.

Moreover, the language under "Insurance Coverage" on OUSA's website is further contradictory (to the above) in that it unequivocally states that coverage applies without notice to the insurer and that there is no need to notify the insurer of every event.

These are not minor contradictions, and the ramifications are not minor either. Therefore, I do not think it is unreasonable for the Executive Director to check the facts and either clarify/correct his remarks above, or else clarify/correct the information at the OUSA website, and to do so without delay.
Oct 12, 2016 10:08 PM # 
The certificate is not why SOAR pays $1.50 per start; SOAR pays because they hold events.

There seems to be a mistaken impression that the start fees go directly to the insurance company; they do not. They are one revenue source, among several, that OUSA uses to pay the annual premium -- as well as other expenses.

In other words, coverage is not on a pay-as-you-go basis. Now, whether/how much the amount of the annual premium is affected by the number of events/starts in prior years is unknown -- at least to me.
Oct 12, 2016 11:14 PM # 
Gord, the insurance isn't just for medical issues, and maybe isn't even primarily for medical issues. There are all manner of problems that a landowner might worry about for which they'd require insurance coverage. A fence gets knocked down and cattle escape. The generator that we're using to run the results computer starts a grass fire that gets out of control. Etc. Another organization that I belong to has (well, had) insurance that specifically does not cover medical expenses of the participants, but that (unlike orienteering) has had enough claims for other things that no insurance company was interested in selling us insurance any more, and we had to basically form our own insurance company (Risk Retention Group).
Oct 13, 2016 1:23 AM # 
Hang gliding?
Oct 13, 2016 1:40 AM # 
Oct 13, 2016 12:09 PM # 
@ JJ I know all that.
@Guy Yes, the certificate is why SOAR pays $1.50/ participant to O-USA.. Frankly it is by far the most important and immediate service we see from O-USA. There are other services but without the collective need for insurance we could probably operate without O-USA, just like one provincial group in Canada operates outside Orienteering Canada as they say they get their insurance cheaper than the national body provides. To be clear we could not operate as well outside the O-USA umbrella but we could manage.
I have four events coming up in the next two months - three competitions and one training event. The insurance certificates have been received and one has been filed with the county that asks to see it in advance and in return I expect the four events will generate a payment of about $6-$700 to O-USA, some of which will go to insurance.
Oct 13, 2016 1:19 PM # 
The point is that you aren't supposed to hold events for which you don't submit the $1.50 per participant just because the landowner doesn't require insurance. All orienteering events are subject to the fee. But there is some question of when an activity is so informal that it doesn't qualify as an "event".
Oct 13, 2016 3:06 PM # 
Orienteering Canada has insurance? Is it cheaper than OUSA's?
Oct 14, 2016 1:34 AM # 
Canadian clubs generally pay a much higher levy to Orienteering Canada than do US clubs to O-USA but apparently it is not a per entry formula but something more complicated.
I'm not sure too many people know what percentage of the levy goes to insurance and what is for general expenses. I sure don't know.
Oct 14, 2016 3:43 AM # 
The fact that OUSA's insurance policy might not allow its members insurance coverage while organizing training is absolutely mind-boggling.
* Orienteering is a competitive activity
* In order to be good at a competitive activity requires ... training.
OUSA should be encouraging its clubs to organize training ... not acting like doing so is some sort of "rogue" or "renegade" activity.

Can you imagine telling a high-school running team that ... sorry, no insurance coverage for training, you're only allowed to race. Or your local swim team ... sorry, we can't organize training for you, just racing. Or your local gymnastics club ... sorry, we don't practice, just competition!
Oct 14, 2016 3:44 AM # 
An overview of Orienteering Canada's Insurance policy is available here ...

Among other things, OC's insurance policy covers:
* Any member while participating in or training for a sanctioned sporting or social

Members of Canadian clubs are covered while racing, while training and even while socializing.
Oct 14, 2016 11:29 AM # 
Perhaps the new board can take this up.
Oct 14, 2016 11:31 AM # 
We are, trust me.
Oct 14, 2016 2:20 PM # 
Perhaps there is some form each participant could sign at the beginning of each year or something like that? That should be doable, if OUSA could post a sample somewhere that'd be great.

I still do not get the sanctioning bit, we have two forms we get from insurance for the whole year, one for our Rec Areas and one for Metroparks. Is that what is meant by sanctioning, if we are in those parks we are okay?
Oct 14, 2016 2:54 PM # 
You got me curious and so I called the insurance company....

Here are the facts:

All the clubs are additionally insured along with OUSA. They can sponsor, sanction and approve events. In other words, when Glen states you need "sanctioning" he is sort of correct. However, this sanctioning can be done by any club in good standing. It doesn't mean OUSA has to sanction it for the policy to be in effect.

I was also told that certificates of insurance are only needed for proof of insurance and to add additionally insured people(the landowners, etc.). If you don't have the certificate you are still covered if the club has sponsored, sanctioned, approved the event. This would include trainings, etc.

Whether or not you pay OUSA for a training start may effect your standing as a club, but it won't negate the insurance policy we've already paid for this year.
Oct 14, 2016 9:37 PM # 
Season/year-long waivers are already in use; GAOC uses them for its JROTC participants, and probably others.

Thank you bgr, for cutting through the crap confusion & contradictions! So, basically the coverage is exactly what most people already thought (hoped) it was...
Oct 18, 2016 10:46 PM # 
Wow, thanks for the clarity.
Jan 12, 2017 7:08 PM # 
Hi everyone -- I'm currently taking over the insurance issues for OUSA from Glen - and would love to recruit someone else (or additional) to take it on.

We've made a couple of updates to the OUSA web page describing insurance, including adding a link to a memo that was prepared by Glen and others with input and review from the insurance company.

We are currently trying to schedule a time for an online presentation followed by Q&A, to be delivered by the insurance agent. I think this will be very useful for clubs. Please let me know if you are interested; it would be great to get a representative from each club to attend.

This discussion thread is closed.