CWA Members Have New Insurance Option

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The Climbing Wall Association has announced the selection of Monument Sports Group as their exclusive insurance provider.  Monument will offer General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Accident Medical, Property, Excess and Umbrella insurance services to CWA members under the organization’s insurance provider program.

While Monument has been providing insurance to the sports industry for over 10 years, primarily to indoor soccer centers and professional sports complexes, the indoor climbing industry is a recent addition to their portfolio. Mark Grossman, President of Monument Sports Group, told CBJ, “We have climbers in our office, so the climbing industry was always a target for us and a natural fit.” They currently insure several climbing facilities.

“From our first contact with them, we found them to be motivated, knowledgeable, and an all-around great fit for the CWA and its members. Given their extensive experience in managing programs similar to ours, Monument was the best long-term solution for our organization,” said Drew Eakins, Membership Marketing Manager for the CWA.

Monument’s President is also confident that their experience and services are a good match for the climbing industry. “We have extensive experience managing similar national programs and working directly with facility and gym owners. We think the CWA members will be pleased with the coverage and pricing of the new program. Our focus on risk management, claims handling and service will help protect the stability of the program and control long-term costs,” said Grossman.

Grossman said that Monument would focus on helping the CWA improve its members’ risk management practices, particularly around auto-belay and bouldering safety.  While he indicated they were interested in putting more teeth into the CWA’s operational standards for the indoor climbing industry, he was reluctant to comment on the CWA’s role in enforcing these standards. “Our job is stabilize the program and help it grow,” said Grossman.

For the CWA, their primary goal is “to help our members continue to thrive through the ups and downs of the insurance market,” said Eakins. “CWA’s insurance programs focus primarily on maintaining the availability and price stability of coverage.”

The selection of Monument came after the CWA launched a nationwide search for providers in October of this year, when the program’s former provider, Veracity Insurance, decided not to continue its partnership with the CWA.

Climbing gyms that have active policies with Veracity should not be affected by the change. Cameron Allen, Recreation Broker for Veracity told CBJ, “There should be no effect on the current policy holders. The only difference is that it will not be mandatory to be a member of the CWA to be a part of the Veracity Climbing Gym Insurance Program.” Allen added, “Veracity has been writing climbing gyms for over a decade, we know this business better than anyone in the nation and will continue to provide insurance to the climbing industry.”

The split between Veracity and the CWA appears to stem from a difference in philosophy over risk management. “The indoor climbing industry has evolved from climbers having a place to train/climb to more of a ‘pay-to-play’ family entertainment facility. With more new/novice climbers frequenting indoor climbing gyms the bodily injury claims have increased significantly,” said Allen.

“Veracity has invested in some great loss control pieces that will be available, and benefit, our clients; training videos, auto belay safety barriers, policy & procedure reviews, etc. These items were met with reluctance when we tried to provide them to our insured’s through the CWA,” said Allen. Without these loss control mechanisms they felt the program would not remain viable.