Insurance Trends at Family Entertainment Centers:
Ensuring the Best Coverage

February 10, 2013 No Comments

For those of entrepreneurial spirit, owning a business can be quite rewarding. Business owners enjoy many perks such as being their own boss, hiring their own team of workers and, hopefully, reaping the rewards of all their hard work. There are, however, risks involved when it comes to business ownership and entrepreneurs must make it a priority to insure their organization as a means of protecting their investment.
Owners of family entertainment centers (FECs), particularly those with go-karts and other rides, need to know their risks and protect themselves in case of accidents and injuries on their premises. “Some insurance claims that are made are really frivolous,” said Brian Leentjes, owner of Castle Fun Center in Chester, N.Y. “When looking for an insurance company, you want to make sure they have the proper legal representation and are willing to fight some of these claims.”
Keeping staff knowledgeable about safety and maintaining the facility are just a couple of ways that Leentjes addresses his risk concerns. “I have staff meetings on a weekly basis, we always update our manuals and make sure our training procedures are up-to-date and we keep the facility safe and clean. We do our part to keep insurance concerns to a minimum,” Leentjes said. “Our insurance policy is also reviewed on a yearly basis.”
Lisa Crispino, owner of Funtrackers Family Park in Hot Springs, Ark., recommends finding an insurance company with a wonderful, hard-working staff. “Our company has great people that really take care of everything. If anyone threatens a claim, their claims department gets right on it and takes care of the situation,” said Crispino, who reviews her policy yearly, always adding in something new.
“The cost of insurance is always a concern of mine,” Crispino admitted. “One way to stay on top of this is to shop around for the best price. Then, let your company know about it and they will usually come around.”
When it comes to choosing an insurance company, FEC owners should look for a company that insures all parts of the park, suggested Gary Seibert, owner of Ozzy’s Family Fun Center in Leesport, Pa. “If you have go-karts at your facility, for example, you want to find a company that insures go-karts. You don’t want to have to have individual policies for each thing. Have everything in your park under one umbrella,” Seibert said.
“It is also important to review your policy each year, because you want to make sure that the company has not made any changes throughout the year, without notification,” said Seibert. “You just want the lowest risk possible, so you have to stay on top of it.”
Seibert’s biggest insurance concern is the litigious nature of today’s society. “These days, people sue for just about anything, unfortunately. Because of that, we need to play our best game all the time. We put all of our procedures in writing, document everything, have regular inspections and train and supervise all staff. We do not take anything for granted,” Seibert said.
Bernadette Chandler, owner of Party Central in Bossier City, La., echoed Seibert when she spoke of society’s trend towards filing claims. “Every time I open my doors, I am welcoming in a potential claim. I have a deductible to meet for each claim, so every person that enters has a dollar sign over their head. Everyone, unfortunately, seems to be trying to make a quick dollar and they are taking advantage of small businesses. They come in here and see the bright lights and the equipment and assume we are raking it in, but really we are just a small operation,” said Chandler. For her part, Chandler talks to her employees and has their support. With proper training, the operation can run as smoothly as possible.
“When choosing a company to work with, the most important thing to find out is whether or not they are willing to stand up for you and fight the claims. The trend lately seems to be paying off claims too easily. You have to find the right agent who will not give in so easily,” Chandler remarked. She also reviews her policy each year and discusses the events that have occurred over the course of the prior year to ensure that the right coverage is set in place.
Patrick Morandi, CEO of Wahooz Family Fun Zone in Meridian, Idaho, looks for three factors in an insurance company: cost, on-site inspections and how they handle claims. “Cost is always a factor and we actually shop around every one to two years to see what kind of quotes we are offered and what other companies may bring to the table,” Morandi said. “We also want to find a company that will come out to the facility and make suggestions that will help us offer the safest environment to our guests.” Additionally, Morandi stated that his top concern is getting a comprehensive liability insurance program that limits exclusions. “A good, all-around policy is key,” said Morandi, who reviews his policy from top to bottom on an annual basis.
Like the other FEC owners, Daniel Statler, owner of Statler’s Fun Center in Greensburg, Pa., meets with his insurance agent each year to review his policy. “You have to have a good relationship with your insurance company,” said Statler. “It is definitely one of the most important aspects of working with someone.”
Of utmost concern to Statler is doing all he can to make sure that the rides and equipment at the center are safe. “We always have to make sure everything is operating safely because someone getting hurt at our establishment is something we need to avoid at all costs. And, should someone make a claim, we also need to be sure that we are working with an insurance company that will help defend us,” Statler said.
Shopping around for the best price is on the mind of Don Towne, owner for The Pit Indoor Kart Racing, in Mooresvillle, N.C. “It seems there has been a 15 percent cost increase in insurance, across the board, specifically for FECs,” said Towne. “I got four quotes this year, before making a decision, and each company had gone up 15 percent from the year before. You just have to shop around to make sure you are getting the best price,” stated Towne, who reviews his policy each year.
Aside from cost, the other important factor when choosing a company is making certain that the agent is familiar with the business. “We have high-speed racing here, so we needed an agent that is familiar with the types of risks involved with this type of environment. The more familiar they are, the more they know about the risks and that can also affect cost,” said Towne. -

Back

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sponsors

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

West Coast Netting, Inc.

Experienced netting manufacturer on the leading edge of innovation.

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Beckman Insurance Agency

Amusement attractions insurance.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Birthday University

Concept development, training and birthday party touring seminars.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Bulbtronics

A premier source for lamps, LEDs, batteries and lighting-related and electrical products.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Hamilton Manufacturing Corp.

Manufacturer of unattended entry systems and change machines.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys