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Ward, Hayden
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Understanding Workers’ Compensation for Adventure Sports Businesses

Workers Comp for Outfitters and Guides

Adventure sports workers have a high risk for injuries while in the field. Your employees day-to-day in the office is nothing compared to those who work “desk jobs”. Protection for your team and strong insurance coverage that offers workers’ compensation is a necessity.

A workers’ compensation policy provides coverage for an employee if they are injured on the job. It is required by law; however, in many states, an employer must have a certain number of employees before the law applies. Regardless of your state requirements, if an employee is injured, you may be held responsible for an on-the-job injury. Without a workers’ compensation policy, the injured employee is allowed to sue you for damages.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Explained

The CBIZ comprehensive policy provides medical expense coverage, rehabilitation expense coverage, lost wages, compensatory coverage and life insurance. In addition, the policy provides employer’s liability insurance. Injury to an employee is specifically excluded in the general liability portion of your policy. It has no policy limits and is considered “no-fault, exclusive remedy” coverage. That means if an employee is injured on the job, his only means of compensation is workers’ comp.

An employee could be:

  • Someone on your payroll
  • Someone you hire to do a job on your property, for instance, a guide who is otherwise an independent contractor
  • The high schooler who mucks out the stalls or does odd jobs around the property


The “payout” for this portion of the policy is predetermined by your state’s workers’ compensation laws. The coverage includes:

All Medical & Rehabilitation Costs: Unlimited coverage with no dollar cap.

Compensatory Amount: Payout is based on the degree of injury. The injury is classified as temporary total, permanent total, temporary partial or permanent partial.

Lost Wages: Once the duration of the injury/illness exceeds a certain waiting period, lost wages are paid retroactively as a weekly benefit based on a percentage of the weekly wage, subject to minimum and maximum payments. Payouts are assessed as temporary income benefits (TIBs), impairment income benefits (IIBs), supplemental income benefits (SIBs) or lifetime income benefits (LIBs).

Death Benefit: Paid to living relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased and may include a spouse, child, parent and/or sibling. The benefit is calculated as a percentage of the deceased worker’s earnings. Depending on the state, the benefit may also include funeral and burial expenses.

If you are active in the business, you should include yourself for workers’ compensation coverage. Work-related injuries are frequently not covered by health insurance policies.

Are 1099 Guides Included in Workers’ Comp?

Traditionally, workers who receive a W-2 tax form are considered employees and those who receive a 1099 are contractors. However, you might be required to provide workers’ compensation for  1099 contractors  depending on the laws in your state.

What is Employer’s Liability Coverage?

To have coverage under this section of a workers’ compensation policy, the employer must be found negligent. In cases where negligence is established, the “exclusive remedy” clause is waived and you can be sued.

Employer’s liability coverage provides protection if you are found negligent; it has set limits. It covers you against lawsuits by employees who are injured/diseased in the course of or because of their employment, resulting from workplace conditions or practices and/or whose injuries (or disease) are not eligible for compensation under the state’s workers’ compensation law. Includes coverage for:

  • Employees’ work-related injuries that do not fall under your state’s workers’ compensation statutes.
  • An injury deemed “caused by negligence” and a lawsuit is brought against the employer for example, an employee is hurt operating a piece of equipment. The medical payments, etc. are covered under part one of the workers’ compensation policy; however, it is determined the accident was caused in whole or in part because you failed to properly maintain the equipment. Therefore, the employee is able to sue you.
  • An injury or disease that occurs on the job but is not considered work-related and would not be covered under your state’s workers’ compensation law.
  • Loss of consortium as some state workers’ compensation laws permit these types of lawsuits brought by spouses and dependents.
  • A lawsuit due to third-party over cases, for example, an injured employee may sue a negligent third party, and the third party may then sue you for contributory negligence.


Contact your agent or broker for information about how a workers’ compensation policy is rated to ensure you place employees in the proper class codes. Properly classifying your employees is crucial to determining the correct premium amount.

Protect Your Business with the Right Policy

As a small business owner, one of your goals is to reduce your risk as much as possible. That can be difficult at times for outfitters and guides who are always in the field of action! Our coverages will help guide you through unforeseen losses. Get the protection you need today and  request a free CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sport Insurance quote. Worry less and adventure more!

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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5 comments on article "Understanding Workers’ Compensation for Adventure Sports Businesses"

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Sam Andrews

I'm a bit worried about my niece because she plans to work at a rock climbing facility in Minnesota. Thankfully, you insisted that a typical worker's comp policy should include medical expenses as well. I'll tell her about this so she can consult a legal expert later. https://www.drewskilaw.com/workers-compensation-law

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Elle Jones

Because my niece intends to work at a rock climbing facility in Minnesota, I'm a little concerned about her. Thankfully, you requested that medical bills be covered by a regular worker's compensation coverage. I'll let her know about this so that she might later get legal advice. https://innoworksemployment.com/workers-compensation-management/

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George Willstone

Some personal experience, having access to workers compensation benefits has made a significant difference during times of injury or illness (https://www.trumplawyers.com.au/). It has relieved financial burdens and allowed them to focus on recovery without worrying about the financial consequences.

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Elina Brooks

I'm thankful you informed us that workers' compensation claims should have no policy limits and will be considered a no-fault, exclusive remedy coverage, so for injured employees, their only means of compensation is worker's comp. My friend works for a construction company and got injured on-site because of damaged equipment. I'll keep this in mind while I help my friend find an attorney to help process his workers' compensation claim soon. https://www.pawlowskibilonickandlong.com

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Elina Brooks

I appreciate you informing us that the payout for workers' compensation claims usually has coverage that includes all medical and rehabilitation costs, a compensatory depending on the severity of the injury, and lost wages. My friend injured his back while working at a construction site, so he wants to get compensated for his injuries soon. I'll have to help him find law services to contact about his workers' compensation claim soon. https://www.smalaw.net/workers-compensation/

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CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of adventure sports businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a policy coverage to meet the needs for those in the recreation and outfitting industries. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.