Fitness Centres and Gyms

To best serve their members, owners of fitness centres need to address the unique risks associated with their business.

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Fitness centres are popular destinations for those looking to get in shape, and the owners and operators of these facilities are passionate about helping their members improve their health.

The condition of your gym, trainers you hire, the types of equipment you provide, and the fitness classes and services available to your members can all contribute to your exposures. What’s more, potential losses for your business extend well beyond broken exercise equipment or injury concerns, and can even include damaging professional liability claims. The list below provides an overview of these fitness centre risks and more—helping you identify potential blind spots in your risk management and insurance programs.

Property exposures exist for fitness centres due to the amount of equipment needed and the hazards associated with them. What’s more, should a fire or other incident occur, multiple aspects of your facility can be affected (e.g., workout areas, offices and locker rooms). Complicating risks, expensive exercise equipment can break if it’s misused, leading to costly repairs and a poor member experience.

While most trainers you hire may be exemplary employees, they can be a source of serious professional liability. For example, a trainer could encourage a patron to exercise above their ability during a workout, causing serious physical or emotional trauma. In addition, because trainers work closely with their clients, the risk of sexual and other types of harassment increases in fitness facilities. In fact, any negligent act committed by your dietitians, trainers or physical therapists could lead to claims against your business.

Fitness centres depend on functioning exercise equipment to ensure a thriving facility. In the face of an equipment breakdown, fitness centres can experience business interruptions or even prolonged closures. Specifically, a business’s workout equipment, computers, electronic equipment and mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems all have the potential to break down, causing major disruptions that can impact your reputation and bottom line.

Crime can be a challenge for fitness centres. Because locker rooms are designed for privacy, the likelihood of assault, vandalism or theft is high. In this day and age, thieves (including your employees) do not need direct access to cash to steal from you—sensitive information, facility tools and supplies are all fair game.

Because patrons of your facility are running, jumping and using heavy equipment in crowded workout areas, general liability exposures are vast. While accidents related to slips, trips and falls are a source of concern for all businesses, fitness centres have to manage a plethora of other hazards. Improper use of exercise equipment and weights can cause broken bones, sprains and other types of injuries. What’s more, spas, pools, rock walls, workout classes and gym courts have their own set of injury risks you will need to address in order to keep patrons safe.

As more and more fitness facilities move to online systems for enrolment and class scheduling, cyber exposures will continue to increase. Small businesses are often easier to hack, which means that your customers’ data—their names and addresses—could be a target for cyber criminals. In fact, fitness centres are a common target for cyber criminals, as these businesses often process a high volume of credit and debit card information when enrolling members. In addition, employees who are improperly trained on computer and data safety could put your organization at risk to ransomware, viruses, phishing scams and malware.

While the proper risk management practices can reduce certain exposures, no system is 100 per cent effective in ensuring an incident-free workplace. As a result, it’s all the more crucial to work with a qualified insurance broker to not only assess your exposures, but secure the appropriate coverage as well. To learn more, contact us today.

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