Markel Safety Tips

A study of claims reported to Markel's Martial Arts program found that inadequate supervision may result in an increased number of injuries and claims.

Tips to reduce injuries:

Some claims, such as those caused by horseplay, can be easily prevented. Some of the examples of preventative measures can include, among other things, establishing a supervision policy that makes staff accountable for class activity and holds students accountable for horseplay. Communicate, to students and parents, potential outcomes of failing to comply with a "no horseplay" rule, including expulsion from your program. Your policy may also need to address sparring, for example, requiring that students of similar size and abilities are paired as sparring partners.

Claims involving one student kicking another often produce allegations of improper supervision. Your supervision policy may also need to ensure that students always wear proper protective equipment and that students have the skills to execute the maneuvers they perform. Refer to your insurance policy for conditions related to certain activities.

Claims alleging physical and sexual abuse can occur if your supervision policy is inadequate. You can reduce the likelihood of an abuse claim by conducting reference and background checks on your employees and communicating a no-tolerance policy for physical and sexual abuse. If parents drop off their children, insist that they remain until practice begins and that they arrive 5 to 10 minutes before practice ends. Institute a sign-in/sign-out policy to ensure that young students are safely picked up; this helps you keep records of which parents may be violating your drop-off policy. It also serves as a checklist at closing, making sure no one is left in your facility overnight.

It is not recommended to leave a child alone with an adult or another child, even when waiting for transportation. Consider not allowing young children under age six to use the bathroom or locker room alone. Also consider monitoring bathroom and locker room activities.

Risk Management in Sport: Issues and Strategies by Herb Appenzeller offers these supervision guidelines:

  • Always put the participant's safety and welfare first. Even if the student wants to ignore injuries and participate, always put health and safety first.
  • Warn participants about the dangers of the activity.
  • Teach proper technique and correct skills.
  • Explain and demonstrate safety rules.
  • Check facilities and inspect equipment regularly.
  • Post warning signs explaining dangerous areas and proper behavior.
  • Always supervise activities.
  • Develop an emergency plan.

You want the best for your students, but you also need to protect your business. For over 40 years, Markel has been providing specialized insurance policies designed specifically for martial arts schools. Get a free, customized online quote for your martial arts studio now by clicking here, or call +1.800.943.7613 to get started.


Appenzeller, H. 2005. Risk Management in Sport: Issues and Strategies, Second Edition. Carolina Academic Press. Durham, North Carolina.

This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can't be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Coverage is provided by one or more of the insurance companies within Markel and policyholder services are provided by the underwriting manager, Markel Service, Incorporated, national producer license # 27585, in California d/b/a Markel Insurance Services, license # 0645481.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.

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