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MGA Insurance Brokers asks "Is your club prepared?"

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Steven McInerney from MGA Insurance Brokers.

We’re fortunate to have access to some of the most beautiful golf courses and clubs, with greens attracting both players and families. But like any business, golf courses are exposed to unique risks that have the potential to seriously impact their operations. If you are on the committee of a golf course, here  are eight risk factors you need to know about.

1. Storm Damage and Vandalism

The surfaces of both tees and greens of a course are susceptible to many risk factors including storm damage and possibly vandalism. Make sure your insurance policy contains tee and green coverage and that the policy includes all playing surfaces.

2. Flooding

As exposed by many storms in recent history, most businesses that thought they had no risk of flood damage, fell victim to the direct and indirect consequences of flood water. Whether or not your course is in a designated flood zone, you should consider coverage in anticipation of an unforeseen weather event that can cause damage to your course. For example, think of your water holes and the perils that could ensue if they were to overflow their banks due to excessive rainfall..

3. Pollution

The course’s rolling slopes of emerald green are not a product of nature alone. Chemicals used to keep the grass lush and neat create exposures for pollution that can often be overlooked. But you have to look beyond standard Herbicide and Pesticide coverage for over spraying because there may be a need to protect your course from other environmental risks such as tank leakage into a watercourse. Consider a complete pollution policy to address all of your exposures.

4. Employee Claims

On average, it’s estimated that three out of five businesses will be sued by their employees. Golf courses, just like any other business, are vulnerable from the pre-hire process through to a possible reduction in workforce. Claims can stem from just about anything, such as someone taking a “joke” the wrong way and being offended. In addition, key personnel (such as directors, officers and other Board members) may be at increased risk resulting from possible discrimination, slander and more.

5. Property Damage and Injury

To protect your golf course or club from lawsuits for third party property damage or third party bodily injury, look to obtain a general liability policy with member to member and ’participation’ cover extensions.

6. Cyber Breach

Experiencing a data breach is not a question of “if” but rather a question of “when.” Members or employees who entrust you with their private, personal information, and the potential for mishandling this information, can put your golf course or club at risk. In fact, if this information is ever lost, stolen or compromised, you may be legally obligated to alert those impacted by the breach. Securing a cyber liability policy can offer coverage for expenses associated with compliance to data breach notification laws, securing legal counsel to advise on incident response, credit monitoring services and paying for regulatory defense and penalties arising from privacy laws violations.

7. Damage to Equipment

Golf clubs in general have considerable exposure to loss of their golf carts and maintenance equipment caused by accidents on the course itself as well as the normal perils of fire and vandalism. Obtain coverage on both the carts and maintenance equipment to lessen the overall financial impact.

8. Property Loss and Business Interruption

Adequate property coverage is a crucial component of your insurance portfolio. If you lose the clubhouse, you could potentially have a multi-million dollar loss with business Interruption and loss of income, including loss of existing golfers as well as potential new golfers. Make sure the club’s short and long-term revenues are properly protected. Property limits should meet or exceed the club’s most recent appraisal. In addition to the limits assigned to the structure itself, you must consider business interruption coverage to cover the loss of anticipated revenue from the normal day-to-day club operations to other income generating events such as weddings …..

For further information, find your nearest MGA Insurance Broker at www.mga.com