I’ve become more and more frustrated with our insurance carrier, the American Canoe Association (ACA).
I’m way out of my wheelhouse here, but I’ve reached out to and taken the advice of a number of members. Unfortunately, as making statements about risk management in itself is risky, you’re getting my paraphrasing.

First – KCCNY  really cannot exist without liability insurance.
We know or at least hope that our friends will not sue us, but their medical insurance company or a hospital is quite likely to go after us if a large medical bill is incurred.  It has become common practice for medical insurance companies to seek to place the blame for the accident that injured their insured on the folks that were with him/her at the time of the accident. Once that person is declared negligent they shoulder that financial responsibility for the medical expenses.

Waivers help by showing that the person was aware of the risk, but ultimately it’s liability insure that would cover us.

Issues with current insurance, American Canoe Association (aka ACA)ACA has made repeated changes to how they want us to submit trips over the last year and a half, including a complex form and several days approval for class 3 and harder and a much more complex form which includes aca #s for post trip reporting. And after i wrote this but before i could send it ACA changed – with no notice to the club – and now requires the complex form for all trips.

Not  insurmountable obstacles, but certainly standing in the way of our goal of making it simple to be a coordinator.
Probably the biggest issues are the difficulty in getting waivers filled out properly and in our hands and the $40 per person ACA annual membership fee. I don’t have to explain to many of you how difficult getting a properly filled out waiver is. (see https://kccny.org/waiver/ ) nor should i have to explain that an improperly filled out waiver probably doesn’t protect coordinators or the club.
My feeling is that ACA is just stuck in a cumbersome process.
They are very nice, but i feel ACA is trying to find an insurance system that will work for big events and not necessarily for a club like ours
Additionally – and this i can really speak to – ACA does’t seem to have the information technology resources to make things work right. A great example is that they are unable to reprogram their online waivers to say that waivers haven’t been shared with the club.
But:
  • The ACA does a lot of positive things for paddling including instruction and inclusiveness initiatives.
  • The ACA policy is for  $2mm per claim coverage/$4mm aggregate coverage and there is apparently an Excess Policy which extends these limits by $3mm
  • Currently we pay $175/year as a club to the ACA, but each ACA member pays $40/year. I’m guessing that many of us our ACA members because of KCCNY only.
An alternative – Paddlesport Risk Management https://www.paddlesportriskmanagement.com/canoe-kayak-event-insurance
CLASS III & IV (For clubs that paddle both class) 51-100 members $832 even if a majority of folks never do anything harder then the class II Mongaup, but to go up to the 2M that ACA offers they want an additional $1700 excess liability coverage.
PRM is in negotiations to add an additional 1M in coverage for a more reasonable $200 to $400/year.
  • Though we wouldn’t have to, we could raise our membership fees, possibly introducing a 2 tiered membership system with a lower fee for those that don’t paddle.
  • PRM uses a simpler waiver. See https://www.jotform.com/213436479626161 for an example.
  • Guests can paddle 3 trips before joining (but they have to be waivered).
  • PRM covers liability in borrowed club equipment, and suggests we create a contract where folks are leasing their equipment to the club if they want to loan out your personal equipment.
  • There’s no issues with submitting trips.
  • PRM said they have about a hundred clubs in this program.
Our risk management contact notes:
PRM said the policy is underwritten by National Casualty, and the Excess Policy is Nationwide Mutual. Both insurance carriers are well rated and respected.
Also worth understanding is all it takes is one legit claim to blow through that paltry $1mm limit, so you should be realistically looking at the $3348 number to buy the expensive Excess policy.
Think about a paddler who injured their neck and becomes wheelchair bound – not unrealistic – that such claim will blow through $1mm easily. (Note PRM says they are in negations to provide a higher limit for about 50% more, i.e a total price of around $1200/year)
Either way we might need Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance as well.
PRM offers separate  D&O  policy $1mm for $816. Apparently there is no issue with getting Directors and Officers (D&O) and liability from a different places.
Insurance summary.
Unless we find a better solution, and feel free to reach out to other clubs and learn what they are doing and how they make their risk management decisions (but please do some research and get some contacts…telling me some club does something different isn’t helpful;-)

I am going to present this at the annual meeting and recommend PRM. If there isn’t consensus, I’ll recommend scheduling a board meeting asap so the new board can make a decision and have something in place for pool season.

We will probably have to raise membership fees to cover the cost of insurance, but the cost for each member will be much less then they were paying for aca and kccny memberships together. We have enough cash to float us thru a transition.

The fun begins