Issue 36: AKA Corner

By now, most of you know that AKA has seen significant changes in our insurance benefits in the past month. Providing insurance that protects local events and secures festival permits is a top priority of the Association.

On April 30, 2004, the policy coverage with St. Paul expired. This included individual liability for members whenever they fly a kite, and organizer liability for sanctioned events. The combined policy was costing $28,000 annually for both individual and event insurance.

Absent the AKA policy, and unable to find or afford single-event coverage, upcoming festivals began to announce their cancellation.

Earlier in April, I had directed our staff to begin to research alternative insurance providers. We had suffered two significant claims in 2004, including the first ever from an event. One involved a buggy and the other a power/surfing kite. I anticipated renewal problems and wanted to have alternatives available. Unfortunately we found none.

After hundreds of hours of effort and countless leads, we received one offer to insure our sanctioned activities. Contracts were signed as soon as possible.

On May 17, the Association secured a new policy for sanctioned events through K&K Insurance. The policy provides a maximum of $1,000,000 per incident. This allows most of our events to secure permits to operate in parks, public beaches, and other designated areas. The insurance covers organizers and officials, as well as the property owner. It does not cover individuals fliers during the festival.

The K&K policy requires participants to sign waivers or coverage for their actions is reduced to $100,000. The policy does not insure traction activities including kite buggies and kite boarding. The total annual premium is $25,000 as much as we were paying before but for only half as much coverage.

I have received calls from traction fliers upset that they were left out of this newest program. I share their disappointment. We are continuing to look for a better policy. We welcome your help. We are determined to find insurance that covers all our members and all kinds of kiting at sanctioned events. This present policy is a start. We welcome referrals, suggestions and ideas. We are prepared to change policies as soon as we find a more comprehensive program.

AKA has not been able to find individual coverage for members whenever they fly. We are continuing to research this benefit and are considering several alternatives. However, at present and until further notice, there is no supplemental insurance policy covering individual AKA members, and that AKA can assume no liability in any case which might arise.

The insurance environment has changed dramatically in the past three years, and all sports or recreation events are having problems. Finding coverage has been difficult and frustrating. I’ve personally received over 500 emails from members with questions, suggestions and concerns. But the good news is that your Association Board and staff found a way to get events covered again and do so in less than two weeks.