The High Cost of Insuring Student Athletes
Current deliberations by the South Dakota Board of Regents highlight the increasing cost of insuring intercollegiate student-athletes.
Within the next couple of weeks, the board will address the difficult issue of providing secondary insurance coverage for student athletes at the six state public universities, according to spokesperson Kayla Bastian.
Whatever the regents decide, it will be expensive. The six universities are facing an increase that more than doubles the secondary insurance provided to NCAA school athletes, which covers gaps in the primary insurance paid by the athletes and their families.
The regents paid a total of $618,460 in premiums in 2013 for their athlete policies. The projected total for 2014 premiums is nearly $1.4 million. A $3,000 deductible would lower the cost to slightly under $1 million.
Secondary insurance covers practice, play and travel to and from for athletes, said Bryan Cronen, president of Kalamazoo, Mich.-based First Agency, which provides more than 200 intercollegiate athletic programs with secondary insurance. It does not include student-led practices, individual workouts and conditioning sessions outside of the official season.
Secondary policies only cover athletic injuries that occur during the official NCAA 18/19 weeks of practice and playing season, he said.
“These policies do not cover any health-related issues,” Cronen added. “It doesn’t cover flu or a cold. It’s only going to pay for an athletic-related injury.”
Primary health insurance is via a student-athlete’s own personal insurance through Mom and Dad, he said.
“Secondary insurance policies are purchased through agencies such as ours,” said Cronen. “The intent is to pick up all of the out-of-pocket costs after the athlete’s primary insurance.”
Like other NCAA schools, Florida Gulf Coast University requires that all of its student-athletes have primary insurance.
According to Brittany Loring, assistant athletic trainer/insurance coordinator at FGCU, the intent is “to avoid out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an injury, as a condition to participation in intercollegiate athletics.”
The policy must have full network benefits that are payable in Florida and more specifically, Southwest Florida.
Loring said that it is also important to note that any lapse of primary coverage can lead to prior injuries being classified as pre-existing conditions and thus may not be covered. Sports-related injuries are those that occur during a university sanctioned intercollegiate athletic event and under the direct supervision of a member of the FGCU coaching staff.
The NCAA sponsors a catastrophic injury insurance program covering a student-athlete who is catastrophically injured while participating in an intercollegiate event.
The policy has a $90,000 deductible and provides policy benefits in excess of any valid and collectible insurance.
This program is all the more important in the light of the concussion lawsuits brought by former National Football League players and the implications for similar injuries to intercollegiate athletes.
The most glaring problem in the NCAA’s health care is that once a student-athlete is no longer enrolled in a university program and under scholarship, they no longer receive any medical help from their school, experts said. That is a big problem for former athletes who have injuries that limit mobility, affect quality of life and impede the ability to find jobs.
Another problem for intercollegiate student-athletes is that NCAA scholarships are renewable on a one-year basis. This allows coaches to refuse to renew the scholarship of a player who isn’t healthy enough to play.
According to the NCAA, an athletic institution must provide a secondary policy covering student athletes or they must certify that each athlete has insurance coverage.
“So there are some schools,” Cronen said, “that don’t buy a secondary insurance policy and thus they have to go through a certification process to make sure all their athletes are covered up to $90,000 per claim, which is where the catastrophic coverage starts for NCAA schools.”
Brokers Bankrolling Adventures
When it comes to great adventures, youth will be served by large insurance brokerages.
On June 26, weather permitting, 31-year-old aviatrix Amelia Rose Earhart will embark on an around-the-world flight retracing the route of her famous namesake. If successful, Earhart will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft.
Earhart and her aircraft will be insured on a pro bono basis through policies structured and secured by Kansas City, Mo.-based Lockton Cos., the world’s largest privately held insurance broker.
“Lockton is thrilled to be a part of this legendary journey,” said Ty Carter, aviation producer at Lockton and the liaison coordinating the insurance protection for Earhart and for the Pilatus aircraft that she will be flying.
“We are passionate about aviation and appreciate Amelia’s efforts to raise awareness of the opportunities and experiences she provides. Her tenacity and spirit are truly inspiring.”
Though she is not a blood relative of the late Amelia Earhart, Amelia Rose Earhart has had a love of flying from an early age.
“I started dreaming of flying when I was 18 years old, and I’ve been flying for 10 years,” said Earhart, who planned the entire 17-stop route of her flight, which originates in Oakland, Calif.
Journey to the South Pole
This venture was preceded by another headline-making adventure that teamed Willis Group Holdings plc with Parker Liautaud, a 19-year-old sophomore at Yale University who on Christmas Eve became the youngest man to ski to the South Pole.
Liautaud and companion Doug Stoup set a new speed record for the fastest-ever unsupported walk from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole in 18 days, four hours and 43 minutes.
Known as the Willis Resilience Expedition, the venture was jointly sponsored by Willis and EMC, a large global technology company.
On their expedition, Liautaud and Stoup were tracked by sophisticated communications housed in Ice Broker, a custom-built Toyota Hilux six-wheel truck that broadcast live around the world and on the expedition’s website. The truck was created by a team assembled by Willis and tested in Iceland.
“It was Parker who first approached Willis,” said Nathan Hambrook-Skinner, London-based director of communications for Willis Global. “He came to us early in 2013 with the idea that he wanted to ski to the South Pole.”
For Liautaud, it was the end of a long journey.
Until he connected with Willis, Liautaud spent 8 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. “every night without fail in the basement of the nearest library sending out emails seeking support for the venture,” he said.
As part of Willis’ aid for Liautaud’s adventure, the global insurer handled all insurance aspects.
“Risk management was a key focus for us.” — Nathan Hambrook-Skinner, Willis global director of communications
“Risk management was a key focus for us,” said Hambrook-Skinner. “You can’t really go to Antarctica without full evacuation insurance, which you’ll need to cover you if there’s any accident. Obviously we had that fully covered.”
Willis, a leading global risk adviser and insurance and reinsurance broker operating on every continent, also handled the insurance for the Ice Broker. And of course Liautaud and four other expedition members, including Hambrook-Skinner, were covered by insurance.
“We had a crisis risk management consulting team in London that was constantly monitoring our progress,” said Hambrook-Skinner. “If anything had gone wrong, they would have covered the expedition.”
Along with the snow-skiing record, major accomplishments of the venture included:
• Liautaud took snow samples along the journey that formed a valuable contribution to current studies on climate change.
“Overall, we were able to do much more in terms of data gathering and scientific exploration in previously unexplored and untouched part of Antarctica,” said Hambrook-Skinner.
• The expedition partnered with EMC to create data visualizations to engage the public in a better understanding of the science behind climate change and the importance to society.
• A lightweight weather station was tested for the first time in Antarctica.
“The objective of the venture for us as a global risk adviser and insurance broker at the forefront of supporting businesses and individuals all around the world was to help build resilience to extreme events and natural disasters, this being one of those events,” said Hammond-Skinner.
“So it was very natural for us to help support an expedition like this which was seeking to enhance understanding of how the world is changing and how climate matters might be changing over time and help shed some light on that,” Hammond-Skinner said.
For “The Amelia Project,” Earhart and her aircraft are structured and secured by Lockton through Global Aerospace. The policy provides a combined single limit for property damage and bodily injury, as well as physical damage to the aircraft.
“One of the key parameters essential to the primary policy was the inclusion of ‘worldwide territory.’ ” — Ty Carter, aviation producer, Lockton
“One of the key parameters essential to the primary policy was the inclusion of ‘worldwide territory’ ” said Lockton’s Carter. “Due to the nature of this trip, which will occur over approximately 19 days and include 28,000 miles, having a policy that allowed for flexibility in routing was critical to the program’s success.”
Lockton was chosen to handle all aspects of the expedition’s insurance because of Carter’s long-standing and close relationship with Pilatus aviation.
“I’ve owned two Pilatus planes and I’ve also been the former president of the Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association,” said Carter. “I’ve had thousands of hours flying Pilatus aircraft.”
In financing the project, Earhart was greatly aided by Pilatus, which donated a Pilatus PC-12 NG single-engine aircraft for the flight.
In addition, with some help from Lockton, Earhart was able to sell 20 sponsorships to help pay for the flight.
“We were able to put their logos on the outside of the aircraft and also on my flight jacket as well as that of my co-pilot Shane Jordan,” said Earhart.
“I took it upon myself to bring in the sponsorships. I had never done any selling prior to that. I really knew nothing about the process getting started but I learned along the way.”
Lockton is dedicating a team of aviation experts to assist Earhart 24/7 during her flight, with regard to any insurance issue, “or for that matter any question to support her while she is making this journey,” Carter said.
“Our group internally is a mix of pilots, people who have been involved in the maintenance side and former underwriters,” he said. “We have a couple of people on our team who are fully dedicated to the project, literally from the time Amelia leaves until she returns.”
Prior to launching her flying career, Earhart was a helicopter traffic co-anchor for NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, where she also is president of the Fly With Amelia Foundation, which grants flight scholarships to girls between the ages of 16 and 18 and supports the advancement of general aviation opportunities.
Round Two for Solar Impulse
In another aviation promotional undertaking, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions will join Solar Impulse in a joint venture to launch the Solar Impulse 2 airplane in 2015, in an effort to fly around the world using only solar power.
It took 12 years of calculations, simulations, construction and testing to arrive at the launch of Solar Impulse 2, one of the most technologically advanced aircraft of our time, company officials said.
In 2012, Swiss Re became the sole insurer of Solar Impulse 2. The plane was considered uninsurable by others and yet made the first coast-to-coast crossing of the United States by a solar plane. See R&I’s story on that journey here.
“Insurance plays an important role in supporting pioneering projects in the renewable energy sector,” said Agostino Galvagni, CEO of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.
“We believe that advancing renewable energy and clean technologies, and establishing them as integral components of the global energy mix, is crucial to ensuring a sustainable future.
“The intent of the Solar Impulse-Swiss Re Corporate Solutions partnership is to endorse and promote this message,” he said.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Women’s leadership development and promoting gender diversity is more important than ever in the insurance industry.
“There are two reasons for that,” said Deborah Giss Stalker, deputy general counsel for the ACE Group-North America in Philadelphia.
“Part of the answer is making sure you have the right people in the pipeline and that you have diversity of thought and diversity of leadership so that you are always keeping the industry fresh,” she said. “You want different opinions and different ways of doing things and part of the way of doing that is through diversity and inclusion.”
The other part of the answer is, “If not now — when?” she asked. “The community at large is changing and ACE as well as others in the insurance industry have to keep pace. If it’s good for ACE, it’s good for the community and it’s valuable for the greater good.”
More than 1,200 attendees are expected at four regional forums on women’s leadership and gender diversity presented by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation in June.
“While employment of women in the insurance industry is high, women remain poorly represented in the top positions.” — Mike Angelina, executive director, Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, Saint Joseph’s University
There’s solid statistical basis for such a turnout.
Groundbreaking 2013 research by Mike Angelina, executive director, Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, Saint Joseph’s University, showed that only 12.6 percent of women in the insurance industry hold board of director positions, 8 percent are named inside officers and only 6 percent hold C-suite positions.
To conduct his market research, Angelina analyzed publicly available data of 100 companies, including 91 publicly traded and nine mutual companies.
“While employment of women in the insurance industry is high, women remain poorly represented in the top positions,” he said.
Angelina said top insurance executives were both surprised and disappointed at the findings.
“There was a general awareness of the lack of gender diversity but most executives felt more strides had been made in this area,” he said. “This research will hopefully give the industry the data they need to work toward a sustainable solution, in which many executives are very interested in taking part.”
In research for this article, Risk & Insurance® found encouraging signs of more action on the women’s leadership and gender diversity fronts.
A number of major companies are active in the IICF, which will hold its four regional events in June: in Chicago on June 3 at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza; on June 12 in Los Angeles at the Westin Bonaventure; on June 17 at the New York Hilton; and on June 19 in Dallas at the Hyatt Regency.
“The forums are open to anyone,” said New York-based Elizabeth Myatt, executive director of the Northeast division of the organization. “Along with the significant turnout of women we’re expecting, we are also encouraging men to attend because we think it’s important for men to be part of the discussion.”
Myatt said the IICF’s mission is to pull together the resources of the entire insurance industry to give back to communities where its members live and work. “We do that through grants, volunteer service and leadership,” Myatt said. “The Women in Insurance Series is one of our leadership initiatives.”
Myatt said the IICF has given back more than $21 million in grants over its 21 years of existence, and has provided about 180,000 hours of volunteer service. “And we’re just getting started,” she said.
Community organizations that have received donations include Covenant House, the Wounded Warrior project and Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Next year, the IICF plans to open its first international division, based in London. “We will also be hosting a three-day Women in Insurance Global Conference in June 2015,” Myatt said.
Effective innovation requires that gender diversity be addressed. — Barbara C. Bufkin, chief operating officer, global strategic advisory, Guy Carpenter & Co.
One of the IICF’s enthusiastic supporters is Barbara C. Bufkin, New York-based chief operating officer, global strategic advisory, Guy Carpenter & Co. The organization, she said is “speaking with a common voice, identifying the social values of our industry.”
Effective innovation requires that gender diversity be addressed, she said, noting that her organization demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and benefits through it.
“Our firm has established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are networks of colleagues who are connected by a common understanding of diversity,” she said. “We have four dedicated ERGs: Equal (LGBT); Women LEAD; RED (racial and ethnic diversity); and Emerging Leaders.
“Our ERGs are open to all colleagues and have the full support of the Diversity Council and Executive Committee,” said Bufkin, who is co-chair of the IICF Forum set for Dallas, and will soon join the IICF board of governors.
“I think we’re more likely to design products and services to respond to the needs of each new environment if we have a diverse culture and workforce,” she added.
When Deborah Aldredge, Los Angeles-based chief administrative officer for Farmers Group, joined the carrier about five years ago, reporting directly to CEO Jeff Dailey, she “was the only senior woman at this level. Today, we have four senior women in the C-suite, largely due to our CEO’s desire to make talent a priority at Farmers.”
Initiated three years ago, the Farmers Women’s Network has grown to more than 1,700 women out of a total employee base of 21,000, operating throughout the United States in 18 chapters.
“At the direction and guidance of the CEO, chapter leads and their members are actively engaged in mentoring, networking, career management and community outreach efforts.
“The grass roots support and interest we have experienced through our Women’s Network at Farmers has been significant,” Aldredge said.
Added Laura Rock, head of human resources at Farmers: “We have leveraged the chapter lead roles to support our talent efforts by working with senior business leaders to identify high potential women to serve in these ‘stretch’ leadership roles for one year while maintaining their ‘day jobs.’ ”
Aldredge said that the business case for enhancing women’s leadership and gender diversity is more compelling than ever in the insurance industry.
“Over 60 percent of new entrants into insurance are women, while only 12 percent are serving in leadership roles,” she noted. “At Farmers, one-third of our people managers are women. So the demographics are taking you there.
“Customers, other key stakeholders such as boards and shareholders, regulators and government are increasingly taking an interest in diversity and inclusion to promote greater diversity of thought, better leverage of available talent pools, and, ultimately, the achievement of better business outcomes,” she said.
Aldredge serves as a Western division board member of the IICF. She noted that Farmers is one of the IICF’s sponsors.
ACE is also a strong supporter of the organization, said Giss Stalker, noting that it “was one of the sponsors for the IICF’s first global women’s conference in 2013, and in 2014 is sponsoring three of the IICF regional women’s conferences this June in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.”
Giss Stalker is president of the ACE Women’s Forum (AWF). “I lead all of the AWF regions,” she said. “We started off with nine different regions throughout the U.S. and now we have somewhere between 23 to 30 regions participating.”
ACE’s senior management has been essential to the growth of AWF and other gender diversity initiatives at the company, said Giss Stalker, starting with support from CEO Evan Greenberg and including Chairman Insurance-North America John Lupica and Chris Maleno, division president, ACE USA.
AWF has several committees, including a mentoring program and a business development committee.
“In addition, we have women in various offices across the country, Canada and Bermuda who act as the regional leaders and are responsible for engaging women, and men, for professional networking, mentoring, and ways for women to connect,” Giss Stalker said.
“As president of the AWF, I sit on various panels, help raise awareness of the AWF both internally and externally, shape the vision and strategy for the AWF along with regional leads, and participate in various outreach activities within our communities, and with clients and brokers of ACE,” Giss Stalker said.
“It’s a way for all of us to get out there and meet everybody,” Giss Stalker added. “I know a lot of women who have been involved with AWF who have made contacts they would not ordinarily have made. The exposure to other women within ACE and within the industry is unparalleled.”