risk in family entertainment centers

5 Tips of Reduce Risk in Family Entertainment Centers

Rand Wright is an independent insurance advisor based out of Roanoke, Virginia, with 32 years of experience in the field. He is President of SafePark USA and co-founder of SafePark USA’s parent company HAWK Advisers. As a specialist in amusement insurance, we recently sat down with Rand to talk about managing risk in family entertainment centers (FECs) and what they should be thinking about for the summertime. Here are his five tips for reducing risk.

Safe Park USA

1. Get with someone who knows the business.

Risk comes in all shapes and sizes. That’s why Rand’s first tip for reducing risk in your FEC is to work with an insurance agent who specializes in the amusement industry.  

“When an FEC is looking for insurance, they typically call the local provider who sells their car insurance or their home insurance,” says Rand. “However, most of the time that person is not well versed in the amusement industry. It’s like a divorce lawyer trying to do a criminal defense case. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It’s just not their area of expertise.”

Rand adds that many insurance agents who do not specialize in the field never actually go to visit the FECs they provide for. This prompts the question: how can an agent truly understand the potential risks without ever laying eyes on your facility? 

“It’s very important that your insurance provider is not just hands on, but that they are also on site,” says Rand. “If you are not getting that in-person expertise, then you need to start reevaluating whether this agent is the right person to be serving your business.”

2. Stay one step ahead of “slip, trip, and falls.”

In the world of FECs, the number one claim in terms of frequency is called the “slip, trip, and fall.” This is anytime a patron of your facility slips, trips, or falls while on the premises. Rand’s second tip for reducing risk in your FEC is to stay one step ahead of this common claim.

“When it comes to slip, trip, and falls, there are several things we want to think about,” says Rand. “We want to think about floor transitions. Can an uneven floor cause someone to trip? We also want to think about wet spots. What happens if someone’s soda overflows at the beverage machine and goes onto the floor? Without proper housekeeping procedures, you could be looking at a slip, trip, and fall.”

Slip, trip, and falls can occur both on and off the FEC premises. For example, potholes in the parking lot, cracked sidewalks leading up to the facility, or an absence of handrails going up the steps can all easily result in this type of claim.

“A lot of FECs don’t own their property, so they put all of their attention on what’s inside the facility and not enough attention on what’s outside,” says Rand. “Who are patrons going to blame when they are walking to their car and trip over a pothole? Your premises is not just what’s on the inside, its what’s on the outside, too.”

3. Conduct alcohol awareness training.

In the last decade, it has become increasingly popular for FECs to bring alcohol into their facilities as a means of attracting more parents. Rand’s third tip for reducing risk in your FEC is to conduct alcohol awareness training and ensure that all servers are trained accordingly.

“It used to be a drag for parents to come out to FECs,” says Rand. “Now, mom and dad are coming up with the idea to go because they know they can have a good time while they’re there, too. However, with this comes great responsibility. FECs must follow proper protocols such as properly identifying patrons as being over the legal drinking age and making sure they are not being overserved or leaving the facility intoxicated.”

4. Fill out your maintenance checklists.

The fourth tip for reducing risk comes from a common area of vulnerability for FECs: maintenance checklists. In Rand’s experience, a lot of times staff members get busy doing various tasks and forget to fill out or finish their maintenance logs. As a result, equipment goes unchecked and there is often a lack of documentation as to what has or has not been done.

“What happens when an attorney sends over a lawsuit or letter of representation and asks for your maintenance logs?” asks Rand. “It’s a bad look when your facility can only provide some documentation, but not all. Determine a system for filling out maintenance checklists and have your managers hold employees accountable.”

5. Always follow through on incident reporting.

Rand’s fifth tip for reducing risk in your FEC is to always ensure that incident reports are being documented and passed onto your insurance provider in a timely manner. 

“There have been many situations in which we were not notified of an injury until weeks or months after it occurred, and we were not given a copy of the incident report,” says Rand. “This puts us in a very weak position to defend the claim when we don’t have any documentation of what happened.”

Rand explains that incident report training is critical for reducing and mitigating risk. Here are some questions to consider when preparing to train your staff on how to go about incident reporting:

  • Who takes the incident report? 
  • When is it taken? 
  • What information should be shared in the claim? 
  • What information should not be shared in the claim?
  • Who does the incident report go to once it is finished? 
  • When does the insurance company get notified?

For more information regarding risk management from a legal perspective, call Lonzo Law at (727) 537-0209 or visit us online.

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