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Tricky trampoline parks face insurance challenges

The popularity of trampoline parks has boomed over recent years thanks to how easy they are to set-up and the limited amount of investment it takes to launch.

More recently, however, insurance challenges have seen trampoline parks suffer from a lack of available insurance cover.

Tim Roarty, Senior Sports Broker at Gallagher, said that the insurance market is coming to terms with a rise in claims from trampoline park operators.

“The hardening of rates, which previously were very low, reflect a realisation by the insurance market of the cost of actual claims,” Roarty said.

“Both commercial recreational centres and various sports involving the use of trampolines have experienced a number of significant claims in recent times, both locally and globally.

 child jumping on trampoline

“Insurers have reduced capacity, increased excesses, sub-limited certain covers and specified certain risk mitigation criteria be met prior to review, which in itself increases safety for the participants, which is always paramount.”

Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest and most well-known insurance market, has demonstrated a reduced willingness to take on trampolining risks, Roarty said, as the market has cut loose the lowest performing 10% of its business, which has impacted trampoling as well as equestrian activities. 

“The only way to get trampolining insurance is to be really committed to achieving a comfort level with insurance provider, the more detail, the merrier,” he says.

The issues involved include

  • voluntary safety standards. Last year Standards Australia published the Australian Standard for trampoline parks, AS 5159. 1.2018, but adaptation of the recommendations is not mandatory
  • oversight of trampoline users. Staff need to be able to monitor and control numbers of children using the equipment at the same time
  • adequate signage and enforcement of restrictions on activities. Staff must be capable of preventing users from engaging in prohibited behaviour
  • safety checks throughout the day, also a staffing issue.

“It’s a really tricky industry that has had some concerning claims, and the market has changed accordingly,” Roarty says. “Operators should make sure they can demonstrate proactive risk management, following the Australian Standard and detailing how your business complies, and getting a liability surveyor to conduct an audit, which is an in-house service that Gallagher provides.

“It’s a lot of effort and risk mitigation can be costly. Even with providing all of the supporting information there’s no guarantee you will get cover, even if you have done so previously.”

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