Spotlight on Insurance: Minimizing the Risk of Borrowed Equipment and Staff

November 2, 2013 No Comments

“Hey buddy, may I borrow your ride?”

How familiar is that statement? How often do you as an amusement rental operator go to one of your friendly competitors and borrow or sub-contract a piece of equipment for an event? Or better yet, sub-contract out that special “Jack Sparrow” character/entertainer for a child’s party? If you are at all like your colleagues in our industry, you should find yourself in this situation on a fairly regular basis. The question of the day is “How does this affect my company’s liability and insurance?”

Picture this scenario: You have a large party booked for the weekend and the customer demands an obstacle course. Unfortunately, you don’t have one in your inventory, but your good friend down the street does, so you work out a handshake deal and borrow his unit. Fast forward to the party, where little Johnny catches his ankle on a small tear in the unit and sustains a broken ankle. Little Johnny’s parents decide to pursue a claim. Whose insurance company is going to pay for this, yours or your buddy’s? Well, in the absence of proper contracts and documentation, the answer is most likely yours, which could ultimately impact your rates and insurability.

So, how do you avoid this situation? It’s easy, by practicing a pretty simple and basic Risk Transfer technique that has been used for years in the construction and service industries. The first step is to have a standardized sub-contractor agreement (contract) that you use for all sub-contracting situations. This would include catering, entertainers, characters or equipment transactions. The contract should clearly spell out the responsibility of the sub-contractor to provide evidence of insurance with limits that are equal to or greater than your own policy limits. It should require them to add your company as an Additional Insured to their policy as it relates to the sub-contractor agreement. Lastly, it should also include requirements that your sub-contractors have a protocol for doing background checks on any entertainer, clown or character that they provide you, as well as equipment maintenance.

While this may seem like a bit of extra paperwork, it truly can save you significant headaches and money down the road. Especially from an insurance perspective, if you were to provide our insurance program with proof of this system of Risk Transfer when utilizing sub-contractors, the rate for those situations would be approximately one quarter 25 percent the standard rate for the class. That alone could be huge savings and a big addition to your bottom line if you sub-contract out a lot of equipment or entertainers.

The bottom line is that it is OK to use other people’s equipment or personnel, just make sure you have a well-written agreement in place, and that you are provided with appropriate evidence of insurance (Certificates of Insurance) naming your company as an Additional Insured.

If you have any questions about this topic or have any other safety, insurance or risk management questions related to the Amusement Rental Industry, please email them to

Remember, inflatables don’t hurt people, poor operations hurt people!

(Drew Tewksbury is the program manager for Amusement Insurance Resources. A nationally recognized speaker on safety and risk management, he is also an active member of IAAPA’s Safe Inflatable Operators Training Organization, Responsible Operators Amusement Rentals (ROAR) and the ASTM International.  Additionally a certified Amusement Ride Inspector through the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officers, he holds inspection licenses in several states and can also be reached at 216-658-7844.)


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Castle Golf, Inc.

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

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Cost of Wisconson

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

Sippers By Design

Design and manufacture of specialty custom-shaped drink containers.

Broaster Co., The

Food programs and food service equipment.

A\’maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Tear Repair

Tear-Aid industrial strength patches to repair holes and tears.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Spectrum Sports

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

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

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.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

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

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Richie\’s Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.


Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Money Tree – ATM

ATM machines.


Laser maze challenge

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Birthday University

Concept development, training and birthday party touring seminars.

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Rides-4-U, INC.

New and used rides, kiddie, family, major and thrill.

Hamilton Manufacturing Corp.

Manufacturer of unattended entry systems and change machines.

American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Ride Development Corp.

Electric floor, gas and battery-powered bumper cars.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.


Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Extreme Engineering
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.