ISO Products Perspective

Patricia B. Prial

The owners of golf courses always face a variety of risks as players of all ages and abilities try to hit that tiny ball into a small hole hundreds of yards away.


ISO’s program allows for customization to fit course’s needs

In some climates, and for some die-hard players, golf is a year-round sport. For others who play less passionately, thoughts turn to the fairways only as the snow melts and the buds begin to appear on bushes and trees. But no matter when the season hits full swing, the owners of golf courses always face a variety of risks as players of all ages and abilities try to hit that tiny ball into a small hole hundreds of yards away.

You don’t have to be a golf pro to see the risks. Just consider the following hazards:

• Errant shots: Golf balls fy more than 100 miles an hour and often miss their target, knocking around in the woods and splashing into lakes. But when they hit people or property, those plastic dimpled projectiles can cause major injury or damage.

• Golf cart incidents: The only activity some golfers enjoy more than playing is driving the cart. But golf carts, which often have no windshields or seatbelts, are frequently involved in accidents—on and off the course.

• Car accidents: Golf courses hire a wide range of employees—from teaching pros to maintenance staff and camp counselors. Sometimes, counselors engage buses to take kids on camp trips, or employees arrange transportation for members to off-site tournaments or use their own cars for work purposes. As with any car trip, accidents can happen.

• Locker-room theft: A locker room is usually considered a secure area, where club members can safely store their clothes and other personal items. But thieves can easily break padlocks and steal property.

• A hole in one: Hitting a hole in one is so unlikely that tournaments offer large awards of cash or luxury cars to anyone who makes the once-in-a-lifetime shot. Still, what happens when a player accomplishes that rare feat? If the tournament organizers don’t have the money, a hole in one can quickly leave a hole in their wallets.

Insuring golf courses 101

ISO provides insurers with the tools to help protect owners of public, private, and municipal golf courses—as well as golf driving ranges—from costly incidents that can occur at any time.

ISO offers forms and endorsements for all types of insureds as part of its Golf Courses Market Segments program. The program includes a wraparound golf course endorsement that modifes three of ISO’s forms: the Building and Personal Property Coverage Form (BPP), the Causes of Loss—Special Form, and the Commercial General Liability Coverage Form (CGL).

The BPP covers most brick-and-mortar exposures that can affect the operations of a business (in this case, a golf facility). An example would be the aforementioned errant shot that shatters the custom-made window of a club’s banquet hall. The policy would address not only the cost of replacing the window but also the damage to the tables inside the facility.

The CGL policy steps up to the tee to cover specifc liability associated with the business operations of golfng facilities. For instance, it might address the legal and medical costs that may arise when an errant shot causes an injury. If a visitor to a facility was standing next to a window when it shattered and needed to go the hospital, the facility can turn to its CGL policy for payment of medical expenses. Coverage is provided for frst aid administered at the time of the accident; the necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, and dental services to treat an injured visitor at the scene or at a medical or rehabilitory facility; as well as the expenses related to ambulance and related transportation services. If, after all that, an injured visitor then sues a facility, the CGL policy would also provide a defense in court for the facility as well as liability coverage.

Further, people don’t go to country clubs only to golf—they also attend catered parties and special events and enjoy drinks with friends. If a barbeque on the deck causes a fre that damages the clubhouse, ISO’s Business Income (and Extra Expense) Coverage Form would cover the loss of income resulting from cessation of operations. In addition, if a guest suffers an injury because the club served another patron too many cocktails, the Liquor Liability Coverage Form would cover any claims imposed on the club because of the selling, serving, or furnishing of any alcoholic beverage. Such coverage forms, as well as many others, can be added to the ISO Market Segments Golf Course program to address virtually all of an insured’s needs.

Coverage for every course

When designing a policy, carriers need not take a mulligan. Using the Market Segments Golf Course program, you can customize coverage to meet the specialized needs of any golf course—whether it’s a country club with 18 holes, a pool and tennis courts; a Par 3 with a lunch stand; or a modest driving range.

The Golf Course Market Segments wrap-around endorsement includes coverage for:

Fuel storage—Fuel pumps and above- and below-ground fuel storage tanks.

Guests’ property—Coverage for items stolen from players at the club or in their lockers.

Outdoor property—Increased limits for fences, outdoor antennas, and plants as well as coverage for the golf course itself—including fairways and greens, roadways and walks, underground sprinklers, and ball washers and benches. Coverage is for specifed causes of loss only.

Members—Additional insured status for members of a golf course related to the club’s activities or functions the members perform on the club’s behalf. For instance, a member of a club’s outreach committee might set up a day of golf at the club for children in need during which one of the children is injured. The endorsement would cover liability for the committee member who helped plan the event.

Golf-cart drivers—Additional insured status also extends to anyone who uses or is legally responsible for golf carts that a club lends or rents to its members or the public. That means if the brakes of a club’s golf cart fail and a bystander is injured, the driver of the cart is an insured under the club’s policy and would be eligible for many of the coverages and defense obligations found in the club’s policy.

ISO’s Golf Course Market Segments program also includes several optional endorsements covering exposures such as bodily injury or property damage resulting from the application of pesticides; prize indemnifcation for the hole in one: restaurant and food-stand coverage; and hired or non-owned auto liability coverages.

As an independent agent, only you know what coverage will meet your client’s needs. Just remember that you carry a full bag of quality plans to keep your clients out of the rough.

The author

Patricia B. Prial is manager, Commercial Property, at ISO, a member of the Verisk Insurance Solutions group at Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq: VRSK)