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Details On NCR's Insurance Plans

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Details On NCR's Insurance Plans

Scrum time in the mud.

National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) is unveiling details of its insurance plan for players, coaches, and others involved in the collegiate game, a plan designed to be flexible and to cover teams wherever they play.

The plan, says Mike Appaneal, who is VP at Lockton Companies, the company that set up the plan, is designed to make it easy to cover not only players, but anyone else who is associated with a NCR rugby team.

Appaneal understands the needs of a rugby team. He is also on the Board of NCR and is a former player for the Pittsburgh Harlequins and the Washington Irish, both of which he captained.

The key, said Appaneal, “is to make sure our coverages are broad enough that we’re protecting our participants—players, coaches, volunteers, and referees.”

That is done by making the language in the policy very broad. Under the NCR policy, once your team brings on a coach, for example, that person is a coach under the policy, and is covered for practices, games, and other team activities from travel to awards banquets. NCR has a coach vetting process, which includes a background check, and that’s a key part of it all. But then, said Appaneal, “if a coach is acting in a coach’s capacity at an NCR team’s activity, then that coach is covered.”

More complex might be covering volunteers, but the plan covers volunteers, too. It’s better if you have documentation as to who is volunteering to help your team, but the NCR policy is designed to help teams, not hinder them, said Appaneal. “The important thing is that we were able to custom design a program for the collegiate community.”

The policy should adjust to the needs of the game or the competition, said Appaneal, not the other way around.

Types Of Insurance

There are two types of insurance that rugby teams need to have: liability and accident. Insurance carriers will not issue a liability policy without an accident policy in place as well, said Appaneal.

Liability Insurance covers the team and its members if someone else suffers from something that happens at a game or practice (if you kick the ball into the parking lot and smash someone’s windshield, or if you tackle a player and that play rolls into a spectator and injures the spectator). It is also the insurance you need to rent facilities.

Accident Insurance covers members of a team who are injured. Costs for accident insurance have been much debated in rugby circles as it has become evident that USA Rugby’s insurance charges were a little skewed. Basically, accident insurance rates are related to what kinds of claims might be expected. Since youth, high school, and (most) college players are required to have health insurance, their claims would potentially be less than those of adult players, a small percentage of whom choose to not be insured.

So rates for adult players should be higher than for student players, but USA Rugby charged every player the same amount.

Appaneal said NCR’s rates are similar to those charged by USA Rugby.

Coverage Travels

NCR coverage travels with a team. Appaneal stressed very strongly that any discussion about a policy stopping when an NCR team plays an opponent outside of NCR is misinformed.

“Our policy follows the team,” he said. “The referees are covered in our games, and typically a referee is covered by the home team. But if there was a case where that couldn’t happen, we’ve made the policy flexible enough to ensure a referee could be covered and a game could be played.”

Appaneal likened it to a car accident where the two drivers carry different insurance. The insurance companies work together to establish what is covered. He also pointed out that Lockton worked hard to mirror as much of USA Rugby’s old insurance as possible. As it is, other sports do not restrict play across associations and insurance programs.

NCR’s standard referee coverage will be provided at no cost to referees. This insurance covers any match with at least one NCR team. 

USA Rugby’s Insurance

USA Rugby does not have an insurance policy confirmed for the 2020-2021 season. This is not, however, a concerning development, as the organization has entertained quotes and still has until the end of August to confirm its policies.

Appaneal was optimistic that teams outside of NCR would be covered.

“USA Rugby hasn’t finalized their insurance renewal but that’s not a panic moment,” he said. “If USA Rugby works with USI [who brokered the current policy], they are very professional and their brokers will do exactly what they should do. I want USA Rugby to be successful with their insurance programs, because they need the scale to ensure a reasonable price for everyone, and It’s a good service to the community to have that coverage in place.”

Sources close to USA Rugby’s insurance situation confirmed that the current insurance policies are paid up through the 2019-2020 season, which runs through August. The National Governing Body, with a team of people at USI Insurance Carriers, a broker service, is getting all the pieces put together, factoring in what return-to-play will look like in the coming months.

The sources also said that USA Rugby’s plan would not offer anything less than previous plans.

Flexibility

One intriguing aspect of NCR’s policy is that it can change. If they find that a certain situation isn’t covered, they can adjust the language to make sure it is. Already the language is broad enough that if a coach or volunteer falls into some gray area, they should be covered. Already some referee societies are asking whether they can be covered as a group within NCR’s policy, and NCR is securing that option for them.

“We want a policy that matches the activity,” said Appaneal.

A breakdown of NCR’s insurance costs will be published in next year’s Statement of Activity. But NCR teams will have insurance coverage to play rugby against anyone, anywhere in the world.