Common Business Sense Scores Big For Youth Soccer
All across America, youth soccer clubs, camps and tournaments continue to expand and grow. Participation is often a costly investment and commitment for youth soccer players’ families, and yet so many variables can bring everything to a halt. What happens when a player breaks his leg just as team training starts and the family just paid for the season? Or when a family has to relocate in the middle of the soccer season? With no security or back-up plan in case of injury, weather, or a dreaded tournament cancellation, families can lose money at a time when they really need to focus their energies most on their player.
Finally, there is a logical alternative – born from having to live through the experience of a player’s disappointment plus the loss of fees. Take a look at what Next Wave Insurance offers under their Registration Saver program.
Soccer News: Sometimes circumstances beyond our control happen and prevent our youth soccer players from participating in soccer events and competitive tournaments. Nearly all of the expenses in youth soccer are pre-paid and refunds are nearly non-existent. In today’s competitive youth soccer world, when a problem strikes, families are often left consoling their player as well as paying the dues and fees for events the player will not participate in.
John McGuinness, a soccer dad with three children saw a need and knew there had to be solution.
With a sports marketing background working for organizations such as the Denver Nuggets, Daniels Communications and Prime Ticket, McGuinness looked to the insurance industry for a solution. McGuinness created a plan to solve some of the issues faced by soccer families and received his insurance license in order to represent these never-before-offered products.
McGuinness approached Jeff Ward, owner of Next Wave Insurance Services in San Diego, California and together, they visited with AIG in New York. AIG realized there was a need in the market, after two and a half years of planning and preparation, a Youth Sports Insurance Program was implemented July 1 of this year.
Next Wave offers an insurance policy that covers not only soccer families, but youth clubs, tournaments, as well as camps. According to McGuinness, the option of having insurance to cover for financial loss in youth soccer due to injury, or relocation due to employment never existed before.
In partnership with Travel Guard, an AIG company, Next Wave’s new Youth Sports Insurance Program offers a new policy called Registration Saver; an insurance plan designed to help amateur and youth sports participants cover their registration investments for season sporting events, as well as, camps and tournaments.
SoccerToday spoke with McGuinness, Executive Vice President, to learn more about Next Wave and Registration Saver:
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspired you to create insurance products for the youth soccer market?
John McGuinness: The concept for these policies arose after one of my kid’s important soccer tournaments was cancelled due to a sudden rain storm. The event was a college showcase tournament for high school teams traveling to San Diego from around the country.
There were over 200 girls teams from U16 to U19. All of the tournament entry fees were non-refundable and travel insurance does not include inclement weather for youth sporting events.
At this point I recognized the need for an insurance policy that covers for the financial exposure presented to all families with children competing in youth sports, regardless of whether it’s a competitive league, recreational or school sponsored.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does Next Wave Insurance Services help?
John McGuinness: Our Youth Sports Organizations are non-profits and run on strict budgets, giving out refunds really hurts the bottom line. Injuries and illnesses can dictate that our kids sit out the whole or remainder of the season after registration and team fees have been paid.
Next Wave offers Registration Saver, which can cover a full or prorated refund for the season. In April of this past year, a soccer team from San Diego was traveling to Virginia to play in a weekend tournament. Due to snow, the organizers were forced to cancel the tournament the Wednesday before it was to happen. The tournament offered no refunds, which is usually the policy of tournaments. The team as a whole forfeited the tournament fee of $900. Registration Saver could have covered the tournament fee cost.
Another great example is the day a child is scheduled to go to a camp and wakes up with the flu the morning of and therefore unable to participate. Again, the camp has collected prepaid money so that they may operate and unable to refund. Registration Saver could cover the cost of the camp.
Diane Scavuzzo: What was the reaction from AIG when you approached them to provide coverage for the youth soccer market?
John McGuinness: They were more than receptive as their management team was looking for new value added products to offer parents in the amateur and youth sports marketplace nationwide. They also saw the immediate synergy with the travel insurance products offered by Travel Guard.
Diane Scavuzzo: Registration Saver – If a soccer parent opts for this insurance and their player suffers an injury which prevents them from playing the remainder of the soccer season, does Registration Saver provide the family with a refund?
John McGuinness: This could be a full or pro rated refund from the day they could no longer compete. If it happened halfway through the season, they may only be entitled to half the registration and team fees.
Diane Scavuzzo: What if a player’s family has to move/relocate?
John McGuinness: The Insured or parent/legal guardian of the Insured Child has an involuntary employer-initiated transfer of 250 or more miles that requires the Insured’s Primary Residence to be relocated. Notification of the transfer must occur after the effective date of coverage.
Diane Scavuzzo: What about if the player decides he/she does not like the club and wants to leave? If the player ‘quits’ after one month and two months remain in the season, is the family eligible for a reimbursement?
John McGuinness: No. Registration Saver for the season covered reasons include: Sickness/Injury (most common reason), Uninhabitable Residence, Active Service (Parent/Guardian), Pregnancy Complications (Parent/Guardian), Job Transfer (parent/Guardian), Felonious Assault.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can this coverage only be added at the time of registration?
John McGuinness: No, they may sign up at anytime up until the start of the season even if they have already registered.
Diane Scavuzzo: Does this cover team fees as well as club fees?
John McGuinness: Yes, but the cost of the fees must be verified when filing a claim, i.e. if club fee is $1,000 and team fees are $400 the parent must show proof that this is in fact what they paid.
Diane Scavuzzo: Tournament Insurance – What is included/covered:
John McGuinness: Registration Saver for Tournaments and Camps includes: Inclement Weather, Sickness/Injury, Traffic Accident, Felonious Assault, Common Carrier Equipment Failure, Government Shutdown of Common Carrier, Extended School Year, Uninhabitable Residence, Job Layoff (Parent/Guardian).
In addition to Registration Saver we also offer travel plans to help cover travel costs if your tournament is canceled due to inclement weather, canceled flights, delays, lost equipment and baggage all of which are reasons that could prevent you from participating in your scheduled event, especially if you have non-refundable tickets.
The Bottom Line… Where is this available?
Next Wave Insurance is currently available in all U.S. states and coming soon to: Alaska, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York.
So what is the cost and how can you get it? Registration costs can range approximately from 6% to 7% of the event fees. Visit Registration Saver online or coverage may be available through your US Soccer State Association.
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