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Discussion: Insurance

in: iansmith; iansmith > 2016-11-28

Nov 29, 2016 1:57 PM # 
There seemed to be a fundamental disagreement on the call last night about liability insurance versus medical insurance. OUSA is covered by liability insurance. Individuals who are traveling abroad can elect to buy medical insurance. People on the call yesterday were conflating these things. I am not an expert, and I am not well-spoken enough to elucidate the difference when on the spot. But I am frustrated at the lack of understanding.

Personally, I am outraged at the $8000 we wasted on supposedly mandatory travel insurance for the teams last year. When I questioned this, as an athlete, earlier in the spring, I was told by Glen Schorr that there was nothing we could do and we absolutely had to use the OUSA-provided travel insurance. The curious thing is that Greg Lennon, heading the MTBO team, was not told the same thing. I find this unacceptable, so hopefully anything we come up with regarding policy will be more fair and enforceable than the previous one.
Nov 29, 2016 10:12 PM # 
Yeah, I agree. The scope is a little questionable. If it is necessary, it seems WOC would be the race to cover. But would World Cups be included?

Loads of questions. Throughout Europe I'm fine for now since I'm covered under the Spanish health insurance system (which offers travel insurance coverage), but would that be accepted? I appreciate the disambiguation you guys are doing here.
Nov 29, 2016 11:10 PM # 
Yeah, I am not satisfied with how much information was conveyed to the teams about the insurance in 2016, and I hope we can rectify it. You raise a good point, Alex; I don't think the concerns about liability of OUSA to lawsuit justify this requirement because it's not clear travel insurance will discourage lawsuit. I suppose a parent having to pay a lot of money for unexpected medical bills might be motivated to sue, but dunno. In any case, I don't think travel insurance will cover OUSA from suit in our litigious society.

@Gswede - we should consult with the teams, who would be directly affected by the requirement, to see their reaction before we spring a requirement upon them. Nobody likes that.
Nov 30, 2016 5:30 PM # 
The problem was not just how much information was conveyed to the teams, but the accuracy of that information. The Junior Team also was told, I believe, that insurance was required by the IOF (not true), by the board (not minuted), and moreover that it had to be purchased through OUSA. I am frustrated by that inaccuracy, as well as by needless time that people have had to put into trying to understand what the requirement was, what the insurance covered, how to get reimbursed, whether IOF really required this, where the OUSA policy was, etc.

The amount that we paid, as far as I can tell, was far more than we'd pay for what I think is a reasonable amount of coverage. Our insurance agent referred to the policy we got, in a meeting I was in, as a "cadillac."

I do think that medical and liability are different, but I also think that it's a reasonable argument to make that a parent faced with medical bills not covered by an insurance plan would be more likely to look for financial help to OUSA via a liability suit.

I think other sports do require their athletes to have this type of insurance. Whether we require it or not, it seems like a good thing to at least strongly recommend. I'm not decided yet whether I will vote to require or strongly recommend - but I put forward the motion in order that we could have clarity for the athletes about what exactly was really required, and by whom.
Nov 30, 2016 5:53 PM # 
I think the motion should say:
OUSA strongly recommends travel insurance that meets minimum coverage as set by the board.
Current minimum coverage is… which may be reviewed each year by the board.
OUSA will provide a plan for purchase that meets these coverage requirements.
Each team ESC may make policy on a per event basis as to whether coverage is required, who it is required for, and who is to cover the cost.

That would allow the junior team to make coverage mandatory for the summer trip for all participants, but the senior team may want to make coverage only mandatory for WOC, or only for participants living in the US etc. Its important to have wording about what events this applies to be careful and precise. If it says for example that coverage must be in place whenever an athlete is representing team USA, then that could mean that travel insurance at these coverage levels must be bought for national championship events too, which probably isn't anyones intent at this point.

My point about liability vs medical cost coverage is that a mandate to purchase travel insurance I do not believe affects the liability coverage if OUSA is sued for costs relating to an incident abroad. The OUSA liability coverage already in place should cover our liability in that case. The travel insurance policy may limit the likelihood of that suit being brought in the first place because costs have already been covered, but if the participant believes that there was negligence on OUSAs fault in any way anyway, then they could still bring suit against OUSA even if their direct costs were covered by a travel insurance policy. A comment was also made that not approving this policy could open up board members to suit if someone was hurt. I believe there is also a D&O policy in place for OUSA that would cover a board member in this case.
Nov 30, 2016 6:57 PM # 
Seems like it was only a few months ago that the same individual was authoritatively spreading inaccurate information about OUSA event liability insurance coverage.
Nov 30, 2016 7:03 PM # 
Worth checking with some other national sports federations to see what they do? I would think they would have similar situations (and much more similar than the IOF or its member countries).
Nov 30, 2016 7:54 PM # 
It's worth noting that travel insurance should cover a lot more than expenses related to medical emergencies -- costs related to delays or cancellations, lost luggage, stolen property, rental car accidents, etc. All things that are good for a traveling athlete to have. (The biggest thing I've used travel insurance for was to replace a stolen compass, thankfully, but I like knowing I have it!)
Nov 30, 2016 9:39 PM # 
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Incorrect information and paying too much were both problems for 2016 that I hope we can rectify going forward.

My thinking is that there is enough ambiguity as to the scope of the travel insurance policy that it should be a recommendation for 2017. I like edwarddes's idea of given the ESCs discretion over what circumstances it should be required. Any requirement creates paperwork and has a cost to the participants, and it's hard enough to be a competitive orienteer right now. Imagine if poor Giacomo had to fill out a bunch of forms ten times a year because he wanted to do his best to get better by going to World Cups and so on. And the people who will be checking things are our already overworked ESCs and team volunteers.

I could imagine that in the future, all the national teams would buy one collective travel insurance policy from BigInsuranceCompany, which could dramatically simplify the paperwork. Coverage could then be part of the athlete agreement signed once per year by athletes. Sadly, we aren't there yet.

@Cristina - agreed that there are provisions that travel insurance can be useful for, but I think it's reasonable for the athletes to have that at their discretion. When I have traveled, the cost of replacing my luggage might be about $1000 (assuming no cameras, laptops), and I personally have always viewed the expected cost of luggage loss as too low to justify buying insurance.

A question which comes to mind: does OUSA have D&O insurance? I'll have to check. PLEASE DON'T SUE ME k thx.
Nov 30, 2016 10:49 PM # 
Do the participants purchase their own airplane tickets and rent cars on their own? Presumably the purchase is made with a credit card? Major card provide coverage for many things including luggage, travel delays, car accidents. Details will vary of course, but mine covered damage to a rental car while on an orienteering trip to Croatia and Slovenia. This might provide an avenue for part of the coverage.
Dec 2, 2016 2:15 PM # 
OUSA has D&O insurance. I posted the insurance policies prior to the 12/12 meeting on OUSA website.

Other teams
USA Triathlon: "highly encourage"
USA Water Polo: recommended travel insurance for clubs; it sounds like Team members may be covered by the organization (and just get a "release").

This discussion thread is closed.