Online Fitness and Insurance

As the UK experiences a surge in retro-style at-home fitness not seen since the likes of Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford graced our VHS players, gym operators and equipment manufacturers are adapting fast to meet the changing market needs. But innovation brings with it new risks – and operators need to connect with the right insurance advice to protect their evolving businesses.

Following Covid-19 the market has been transformed and online fitness is here to stay. Gyms are operating both in bricks and mortar premises and increasingly building online provision for members – from live-streamed classes to 1-on-1 personal training, and hybrid model classes to reach both physically present and remote members who are not ready to come back in to the gym.

This can involve the creation of proprietary content, or sharing third-party content. Some have a library of videos teaching training techniques – which again may be home-grown or third-party. And, like pay-per-view live-streamed gigs, the online provision can in theory reach far higher numbers of participants.

But inherent in all innovation is new risk. From February to April 2020, cyber-attacks in some sectors increased by over 200%. And with cyber-crime and data breaches hitting headlines, businesses globally are shoring themselves up against a range of ever-evolving tech and cyber risks.

What if…?

…a member injures themselves in their own home during a class?

In a situation where you have no control over the environment, risk management is important. Are there sufficient warnings for the participants? It’s probably not feasible to do a risk assessment of each setting, but perhaps you can provide key tips on working out safely at home, including ensuring:

  • Adequate space to work out
  • Suitable flooring
  • Checks on equipment beforehand
  • Enough distance between household members joining the class

…the platform crashes due to a hack/virus and you can’t deliver your service?

…there’s a data breach? You may hold credit card numbers and medical information among the data included in your PARQ forms. You may think you’re not liable for data if you use a third party to collect credit card and bank details for payments, but in fact you are still at least partially responsible – take a look at our article on Cyber Myth-busting for more information. You could be exposed to lawsuits and fines from the regulator. 

…a scammer persuades your staff to share financial or personal information or make a transaction in a “phishing” attack? 

…you give the wrong advice during an online PT session because your camera view is limited?

How can insurance help?

Getting the right insurance advice can make all the difference to the outcome of a claim – and to the financial robustness of your business.

Public Liability: explain to your adviser exactly what your activities are and look out for any restrictions in the policy. Some providers have restrictions on online class numbers.  We prefer to simply adjust the cover around the activities you want to deliver rather than impose restrictions.

Professional Indemnity/Wrongful Advice: if your business is based on advice, it’s critical that you have professional indemnity insurance in place. If advice is just part of your offering, this can be covered under your Public Liability insurance by a specific extension for Wrongful Advice – again, your insurance adviser should know where to pitch is, based on their understanding of your business.

Cyber Liability: most responsible businesses are aware that a cyber-attack is a “when” not an “if”, and that cyber insurance is now key to the financial protection of any organisation. Cyber Insurance provide protection in two main ways:

  • Liability for third party losses (“Third Party Cyber”)
  • Liability for your own losses (“First Party Cyber”)

This can include protection against costs, expenses and liability arising from:

  • Breach of Privacy or Confidentiality
  • Data Breach Costs – with the new General Data Protection Regulation, this is critical.
  • Regulatory Fines or Contractual Damages
  • Cyber Liability – your liability for customer/user financial loss or denial of access
  • Business Interruption – for your own lost revenue as a result of viruses, network failure or damage, hacking or cyber-crime causing ‘down-time’
  • Data Extortion – protection against the threat of extortion as the result of ransomware, theft of data, or damage to your computer network
  • Problems with an outsourcer – including cloud providers and overseas data processors
  • Costs of restoring or recreating data
  • Costs of minimising reputational damage – hiring a PR firm

One size doesn’t fit all in Cyber Insurance – it’s important to talk to your insurance adviser about your specific risk exposures so you can be more confident your insurance will deliver on its promise.

At Partners& we can provide the right advice to help you better protect your business as you innovate. It’s important to work with an insurance adviser who really understands the dynamics in your business and can provide the right advice on which cover you need, at which level and why.

Partners& is a specialist insurance broker for gyms and health clubs. A strategic partner with ukactive, we’ll help you to map out pitfalls and tread confidently as your business grows and changes. And if you need to make a claim, we’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with you, getting you back on your feet fast and supporting you through the next challenge.

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Get in touch at contact@partnersand.com
t: +44 (0) 3300 940177
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Neil Adebowale

Director - Sports & Leisure