Sports Law • Risk Management

Triathlon Risk Management: The USAT Advantage

USA Triathlon, like many national governing bodies of sport provide multi-sports race directors the opportunity to sanction their events for a fee in return for insurance, use of USAT branding, liability waiver form, risk management expertise, inclusion of their race in the athlete ranking system, use of USAT Competitive Rules and enforcement by certified officials, access to educational opportunities and race director certification, and more. What puzzles me is why any race director of a multi-sport race would choose to go it alone without this sanction.

As an insurance defense attorney, with almost 24 years experience of representing clients that have been sued for their alleged negligence, all of them are grateful that they had the foresight to purchase insurance that pays my fee and hopefully covers any judgment entered against them. Those clients that I have represented that do not have insurance or do not have sufficient insurance policy limits struggle to pay attorney’s fees and fear for the loss of their assets---their homes and businesses.

Certainly, there are other insurance options for multi-sport race directors and I imagine that many unsanctioned races are properly insured. However, the risk financing component is only one aspect of a comprehensive risk management program. USAT offers a wealth of experience in risk management planning, including application of risk assessment and risk control techniques. Probably the most important benefit that a race director receives from sanctioning is peace of mind. If an unfortunate accident should happen and a lawsuit is filed, the race director does not have to fend for his or herself.

The liability waiver may discourage a lawsuit against all of those named on the document, including the race director. If a lawsuit is filed, such document could be used to establish a defense that could result in dismissal. The insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify. And, USAT can assist with the claim and provide its expertise and support to the race director to enable business continuity in a situation that might otherwise mean the end to an established race. As you can see, there are significant benefits to USAT sanctioning that go beyond insurance. For more information go to: http://www.usatriathlon.org/