Last year, it was reported that the opening of the Trukstop Skate Park owned by Lil Wayne was delayed due to the inability of Lil Wayne to procure skate park insurance. Skate park liability insurance has been harder and harder to secure in recent years due in part to the fact that insurance companies have become less and less profitable with recent decreases in interest rates and investment earnings. Additionally, because skateboarding has become even more popular and skate tricks have become more difficult and dangerous in recent years, insurers have been less motivated to take on these risks.
The two main insurance companies that offer skate park insurance are City Securities Insurance and Commercial Insurance. However, before any policy is put in place, a substantial underwriting investigation must take place. Skate parks must require that their skaters to sign waivers of liability and releases. They must also have controlled hours, so that late night post-party sessions are avoided. All skate park insurers require park skaters to wear protective helmets. However, there is a split in the insurance industry on knee and elbow pads and wrist guards. Commercial Insurance does not mandate its insureds to require pads — they base this business decision on lack of medical industry data supporting the conclusion that these pads actually reduce the incidents of cracking an ankle or breaking a wrist. On the other hand, City Securities Insurance requires that skaters of its skate park insureds wear helmets, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards. This underwriting decision is based on the observation these protective devices certainly cannot increase injuries — “better safe, than sorry.”
So, if you’re like Lil Wayne and desire to open a skate park in your neighborhood, consider that one of your greatest obstacles is obtaining commercial general liability insurance for the park. To assist in the insurance procurement process, you may want to involve potential insurers early in the process. Perhaps you could share skate park construction plans with the insurance companies and obtain input from them on construction of the least dangerous features so that you can pay the lowest premiums available.