Our team reached out to Pullen Insurance to see if they might be able to help draft a few messages that we could provide to state associations aimed at mitigating concerns raised by the article published by ESPN yesterday regarding the evaporating insurance market due to concussions, CTE and other traumatic brain injuries. Specifically, the quote from Alex Fairly that stated, “If you’re football, hockey or soccer, the insurance business doesn’t want you.”
We found the article troubling on many levels. Clearly, youth soccer is not in the same category as the NFL or youth football (full contact). On the contrary, we have a number of carriers willing to provide general liability coverage, inclusive of head trauma and neurological injury (if desired), for youth soccer organizations at reasonable rates.
Nevertheless, I wanted to reassure you of where US Youth Soccer stands on the issue and to provide the below statement / talking points from our insurer, Pullen Insurance.
As an aside, I will be sending a formal response to the editor about the piece on ESPN.com, expressing my concerns over the “quantum leaps” taken by those quoted without a substantiation of facts. Conflating traumatic brain injuries sustained from playing professional football with youth soccer, and suggesting a correlation between declining youth participation rates and “asbestos” is simply outrageous and irresponsible.
US Youth Soccer and our membership has for decades put the safety of our players above all else. Constantly reminding media, clubs, leagues, teams, parents, players and sponsors about the risk management and safety initiatives/protocols that we have in place will be essential in the future, and it will help thwart efforts by those who would care to sensationalize such a serious topic as player health and safety.
Please see the below statement from Pullen Insurance on the matter. In addition, our Risk Management Committee Chair, Mike Borislow has also been in touch with others in the insurance market, who like Pullen Insurance, agree that the availability of coverage for youth soccer should not be an issue in the future, but that our focus needs to be squarely on prevention and what we are doing to keep players safe.
STATEMENT FROM PULLEN INSURANCE:
The youth soccer insurance market is currently being served by three (3) insurance companies writing youth soccer general liability insurance. These insurance carriers provide traumatic brain injury concussion coverage as part of their general liability policy.
Over the past several years US Youth’s liability insurance carrier has taken the following measured underwriting approach in response to concussion coverage for the sport of youth soccer:
Concussion coverage has been sub-limited with typical policy limit offering of $2 million per occurrence $5 million aggregate.
Defense cost coverage for traumatic brain injury claims are included within the policy sub-limit.
Annual liability pricing increases have averaged five (5) percent the past few years to fund for the inevitable concussion claim.
Pullen Insurance does not expect any significant changes in regards to product availability or price for concussion coverage involving US Youth Soccer and their state soccer associations.