Like any entertainment venue, bowling centers need insurance. But often it can be difficult to find an insurance company willing to provide the comprehensive coverage necessary. Bowling centers nationwide had some tips to share about the current insurance market and how to find the best coverage possible.
At Kearny Mesa Bowl in San Diego, Calif., General Manager Johnny Humble found his insurance vendor at a trade show event. “We’ve been together for about 20 years. The company, L.J. Linder, does a great job. They specialize in bowling centers. I believe they cover over a hundred of them. Our agent handles about 90 percent of the claims himself, which means his loss rate is small. He doesn’t just ship clients off to a lawyer. His responsiveness and attention is very important to us, and we’re very pleased with the service. Finding an agent that is this attentive is really key to being satisfied with your insurance coverage,” Humble noted. “My advice to other centers? Go to trade shows or industry shows, and find people who specialize in insurance for bowling.”
In Reno, Nev., Sherry Moreno, owner of High Sierra Lanes, agreed that the way to find the best insurance deal is having a good insurance broker. “We’re fully insured with CBIC. We have a great insurance broker that represents us, and he shopped around to all the big companies to get us the best coverage at the best price. Every year he shops for us, to make sure we’re covered well and have the best possible pricing.” Moreno recommended looking in magazines directed at bowling proprietors for insurance advertisements. “That’s a good way to compare insurance companies,” she said. “We’ve been lucky because we have a friend in the insurance business who worked diligently for us to get quotes. But referring to those advertisements, you can compare and shop for yourself. The best thing of all is to find a good, honest insurance broker you can trust to do the shopping for you – that really relieves a lot of the stress,” Moreno said.
In Oklahoma City, Okla., Michael Widmar, general manager of Heritage Lanes, relies on the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA) to help with his insurance needs. “We’re fully insured with liability, theft, all the basic coverage, with HHC out of Houston, Texas. We were able to get the coverage and cost that we have through the large smart-buy programs the BPAA has to offer. Our savings greatly offsets the cost of membership; for us being a member is a real win/win,” Widmar said. “Joining that organization is the best tip I can give for finding insurance. I think it would behoove anyone to be a part of the national association.”
Cindy Lucero, owner of Glenfair Lanes in Glendale, Ariz., also uses BPAA to find her insurance coverage. “The association really helped us. They recommend companies that will cover bowling centers. So starting there, with those recommendations to contact, that would be the best thing for bowling centers to do if they’re looking for insurance. Being a part of the organization is a good step toward finding the best deal. Most bowling centers are a part of the BPAA. In my opinion joining is very worthwhile in regard to insurance.” As to what type of insurance Lucero carries, “We have all the regular coverage – liability, theft, fire.”
At Tigard Bowl in Portland, Ore., Owner Lori Pearl advised bowling centers to shop around and get more than one quote before selecting an insurer. “In the bowling industry, getting the right insurance can take a little time. Some companies won’t cover bowling centers, period. In Oregon, where we’re located, there are probably three or four main insurers. Some will be lower, some higher, you just need to shop around, and look for the best rates. Then, be certain that you’re fully insured, and have all the coverage you need.” Pearl noted that it’s vitally important to take the time to be sure you have enough coverage. “Compare prices, and don’t under-value yourself. Make sure you have all the coverage you could possibly need. Another bowling center in the area had a fire and had some coverage issues. So you want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Don’t just look at the price of the insurance as the bottom line. Know what you want to insure, make sure you are properly covered, and then compare prices.”
In short, finding the right insurance is essential to the success and well-being of bowling centers nationwide.