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Business Self-Defense: Protect Yourself From These Unseen Opponents

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2017

Business Self-Defense: Protect Yourself From These Unseen Opponents

Michael A. Swain, Sr. Loss Control Specialist with Markel Insurance Company gives some tips to keep your school on the defense.

Many harmful adversaries can affect a school. They range anywhere from upset clientele, to lawyers filing lawsuits against your school. Those suits can include allegations of improper, inadequate and inappropriate supervision. But there are ways to protect yourself and it starts with a strong defensive strategy with solid supervision practices.

Markel developed a risk management acronym called S.E.A., which stands for Supervision, Education and Accountability.

Supervision. This is a risk management strategy that must be implemented across all components of your business. It also must be adhered to.

Education. You must stay educated and practice what you learn. Just like teaching students a new discipline, you have to teach yourself new disciplines to stay informed.

Accountability. This factor drives the outcome. You must hold your staff accountable. If you’re the owner of the business, you need to hold yourself and your business partners accountable as well.

Markel stresses the importance of supervising yourself and holding yourself accountable to your staff. As a professional martial arts instructor, you have a duty to the parents of your students to ensure safety at all times and all situations. Many of the claims Markel sees involve an instructor misjudging his/her strike and inadvertently hitting a student, or using aggressive hands-on teaching techniques. Maintaining control and exercising a professional standard of care could have prevented these claims from happening.

Applying proper standards of care vary by situation but are not limited to the following:

  • Type of activity – hazardous nature
  • Age (or maturity) of participants
  • Health and conditioning status of participants
  • Size of the participants
  • Skill of the participants
  • Size of class and amount of supervision
  • Requirements of local laws

Markel goes on to talk about the importance of waivers and how to effectively use a waiver. He says there’s no substitute for sound legal advice but offers these tips:

  • Text should be easy to read, with understandable language
  • A waiver should be a standalone document
  • The title of the waiver must clearly state what it is
  • A waiver must warn of the risks being accepted and provide a clear description of the potential harm associated with the activity

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