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Old 12-07-2005, 02:19 PM   #1
6th Kyu For Life
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, Oberlin Ohio. Utah Aikikai, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 59
Liability Insurance for Senseis?

Do most Senseis, especially ones that teach seminars, have Liability Insurance?

Today I found out that all instructors should have such insurance. It's required for things such as Yoga, Gymnastics, Jazzercise, Baseball, basically any sporty-type thing (at least at a college or university), but it seems to be the norm in Aikido not to have this. Why not?

So here's the story. I'm the treasurer of a college dojo, and much of our funding comes from the college. So in order to pay our instructors, I have to make a contract, and fill out a bunch of forms, etc. So today, I find out that in addition to the contract I have to submit some proof that the instructors are insured, aka a "Proof of Million-dollar Liability Insurance." This club has been running for over 30 years, and this has never been an issue until now. What's the deal.

It appears that this special kind of insurance for instructors can come from one of three places: 1. Their own policy 2. A policy that is owned by a dojo, and can cover the instructor or 3. A policy that covers the whole organization, in our case, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU). So, does anyone know how this works? It seems that the third option would be best, because it would cover anyone, but I have no idea if the ASU has such a thing. Do the insurance policies of most dojos cover the sensei when teaching elsewhere? Do most instructors have an individual policy already? Our regular senseis don't, but maybe people who teach seminars do, I don't know.

It seems pretty important for instructors to have such insurance. I know nobody likes dealing with insurance and legal stuff, but I would urge any instructor reading this to look into such insurance, regardless of where you teach. While it's generally not a problem, you never know when some student might come in, dislocate thier shoulder on their first front roll, and decide to sue somebody. Anyway, a little help on this issue would be appreicated.

Tom Newhall
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:14 PM   #2
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

I cant really give you any advice on what the best option is out of those 3, but I would say that instructors having insurance is the norm (or really should be) it is sheer stupidity otherwise, especially in this day and age. My instructor has personal indemnity of upto five million pounds, I am also in the process of sorting out my PI as an asistant instructor. Hope you get that mess sorted out, sounds like a bit of a headache for you.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:51 PM   #3
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crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,502
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

A while ago, I did a little research on the topic of liability insurance. It's smart to have it, although sometimes difficult to find for a "traveling" instructor. There's sort of a Catch-22 there, because insurers sometimes are skeptical of anybody who asks for this type of insurance. One eyebrow goes up, followed by the inevitable "What's so dangerous about what you do?". This is usually followed by the loud ringing of cash registers.

Most of the time, liability insurance is easier to get for the owner of the property, based on the activities conducted there, rather than for the individual instructor to "carry around" with him from place to place. Obviously, anybody will say they want you to have the coverage, especially if they don't have to pay for it, because it's to their advantage if there is "shared" liability.

The actual laws involved will vary from place to place, and ultimately, a court would decide any actual liability, based on the prevailing laws and the circumstances of the incident. At the very least, the instructor should get all participants to sign an indemnity agreement, sometimes called a "waiver". I'm sure all of us has had to do so from time to time. Even still, such agreements don't protect the instructor completely. It remains within the purview of the court to decide, and sometimes a waiver means little or nothing at all, especially if negligence can be demonstrated.
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:14 PM   #4
Sam Williams
Sam Williams's Avatar
Dojo: Pheonix School for Therapeutic Arts, Jersey
Location: Channel Islands, Jersey
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 10
United Kingdom
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

At our dojo, each student has to pay insurance, it's not to expensive, about 30 a year for adults, 15 for students, or summit close to that. But for the first lesson all they need is a Parent signature for under 16's or the 16+ student signature.

The pen is mightier than the sword.
But a sword
Dipped in ink,
That's a good compromise.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:43 AM   #5
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

Our insurance policy covers our location. It also has a rider which protects the landlord. If we were to hold an event outside this location, we could apply for a supplemental policy to cover that event.

Insurance policies are generally regulated by the individual state. I'm not sure what type of policy a visiting instructor could carry, especially if they're teaching on a national level.

If you're a college dojo, your group should already be covered by the university/college insurance. Talk to the athletic department, since they would likely know about the insurance coverage for sports injuries and outside instructors.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:41 PM   #6
kironin's Avatar
Dojo: Houston Ki Aikido
Location: Houston,TX
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,036
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

Tom Newhall wrote:
Do most Senseis, especially ones that teach seminars, have Liability Insurance?

This is the best deal that I know of


and they list your organization - Aikido Schools of Ueshiba
as one of their clients. Might want to find out what that means.

contact is at the bottom of the application form page

I had to have it because a dance school I was renting space out of required it. It covers me in multiple locations and traveling. I found out about it through some other martial arts school owners.
If you teach kids you definitely need it. If you teach adults in a non-proift only and screen them like small groups do, I am dubious of the need for this. Be sure that your waiver meets the
insurance provider's approval.

If you college funds your group seems kind of surprising they don't have coverage.


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Old 12-11-2005, 06:12 PM   #7
Dojo: Aikido Jinsei Dojo
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 97
Re: Liability Insurance for Senseis?

Craig Hocker wrote:
This is the best deal that I know of


Yes, this is who I use also. Make sure to use their waiver.


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