Brokers for top golf management companies learn how the industry’s economic struggles are creating new opportunities, how to protect their clients with better contracts, and how to address clubs’ top five safety issues
Philadelphia, Pa.— August 11, 2009 – Insurance brokers for top golf management companies
nationwide converged on Philadelphia last week to learn about the state of the golf industry, get
insight into the industry’s top risk control issues, and find out about contractual issues that affect
the golf management business.
Hosted by Venture Insurance Programs at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia from August 3-4, the “Inaugural Golf Forum” featured William Kennedy, White and Williams LLP, Stephen Paris of Regent Golf, and Fred Champion of Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. “We recognize the unique challenges and opportunities that this industry faces, so we designed this Forum so insurance brokers of Golf Management Companies could share ideas and find solutions to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities,” said Philip J. Harvey, president of Venture Insurance Programs, which operates the Preferred Club Program, an industry leading provider of insurance and risk management services for clubs and golf management companies.
Citing the 11 percent drop in core golfers since 2000 and the drop in total rounds played from the 20-year average, Stephen Paris said private clubs are struggling for membership, lowering initiation fees dramatically and some are moving to a semi-private model to drive revenue and compete better. Public courses are not only battling each other, but also face competition from semi-private clubs. In addition, more municipal courses are being turned over to golf management companies as a way to reduce financial risk.
Paris attributed the golf and club industry’s current condition to the overbuilding of golf properties, which peaked in 2000 and threw the supply and demand equation out of balance. Clubs did not strike the proper balance between member experience and financial performance, he said, and they need that balance to achieve success.
William D. Kennedy, Esq., of White and Williams, LLP, presented “Contract Concepts & Contents: Looking Out for Golf Course Managers,” in which he explained how golf management companies and course managers could achieve mutual goals of “knowing who is doing what…when… and for how much,” while understanding all the “what ifs.”
Kennedy explained how to find certainty with respect to uncertain events, and addressed key contractual issues such as the importance of experts reviewing contract details and contractual indemnity, and the importance of making sure the management contract matches the club’s actual insurance.
Fred Champion, CSP, outlined the top five risks facing clubs today – golf and utility carts, swimming pools, spas and hot tubs, liquor legal liability, waterborne illness, and equipment wash pad environmental liability risks. According to Champion, while some issues such as liquor liability are well known to clubs, newer risks such as the impact of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act – which requires clubs with on-site public pools or spas to properly cover drains – need to be addressed to mitigate risks.
Brokers attending the Forum were introduced to the senior management and underwriting team at Venture Insurance Program and its Preferred Club Program, which insures approximately 1,000 golf and country clubs nationwide, including many of the leading golf management companies.
About Venture Insurance Programs
Venture Insurance Programs (www.ventureprograms.com) is a leading program administrator that designs, underwrites and distributes industry-specific insurance packages. Based in West Chester, Pa., Venture has underwriting alliances with the world’s leading carrier groups, including AIG, Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, The Hartford, Hiscox, Markel, OneBeacon, PMA, RLI, RSUI, USLI, Zurich North America and Lloyd’s of London. Founded in 1993, Venture provides specialty insurance packages for select vertical industries—including golf and country clubs, golf destination resorts, hunting/fishing lodges, community banks, life science businesses, technology companies, hotels, restaurants, and marine risks.