|HBPA, AQHA To Host Insurance Summit at
Arizona Racing Symposium
The National Horseman's Benevolent
and Protective Association (NHBPA) and the American Quarter Horse Association
(AQHA) will host a horse racing industry summit on insurance on Tuesday,
December 10, at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing.
The summit will focus on the feasibility of a national insurance program
for the racing industry, which could potentially include workers' compensation,
horsemen's group health and accident insurance, jockey insurance, participant
coverage, track liability and other insurance topics brought up by participants.
"This problem isn't going to go away," Remi Bellocq, NHBPA
Executive Director, said. "We haven't seen underwriting come back
as quickly as we'd like. We need to face this issue head on."
The goal will be to draw up an action plan to try to help coordinate
industry efforts to address the insurance problems currently faced by
the horse racing industry. Organizations are encouraged to bring as many
representatives as they wish, but to limit participants in the strategic
planning session to two.
The free summit will host a panel presentation followed by an open forum
starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. The moderator will be Lonny Powell, President
and CEO of Racing Commissioners International.
Panelists include Dr. Price Fishback, Professor of Economics at the University
of Arizona, a published author on the subject of workers' compensation.
Dr. Fishback will give an historical overview of current workers' compensation
issues in horse racing and the results of a survey of workers' compensation
laws, racing industry regulations, costs and coverages in most racing
states. John Roark, the president of the National HBPA and a practicing
attorney with over 35 years of experience in litigating workers' compensation
cases, will address the issue from a general horseman's perspective and
give an update on how the issue has affected a number of key racing states.
Ed Halpern, Executive Director and General Counsel for the California
Thoroughbred Trainers, will speak on his role in a possible resolution
of the recent workers' compensation crisis and report on the new AIG workers'
compensation insurance program in California. David Hoskins, Senior Vice-President
from Andreini & Company, will serve as an expert on property and casualty
insurance and speak on a possible solution to the national workers' compensation
problem. Chris Scherf, Executive Vice-President of Thoroughbred Racing
Associations, has a working knowledge and extensive experience in various
industry-related insurance programs. Bob Flynn, Executive Director of
the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, will review the approach
in New York which created a separate state workers' compensation fund
for jockeys and exercise riders. In addition representatives from the
Jockeys' Guild will address the need for an all-inclusive national insurance
program for jockeys.
There will be a special presentation given by Linda Mills, President
of the Florida HBPA, and Randall Hampton, Vice President of McGriff, Seibels
& Williams, Inc., titled "A New Approach in Florida". Facing
an increasingly difficult situation in securing workers' compensation
insurance, Florida horsemen are looking at a new approach in their state,
which focuses on "cost per stall" basis of calculating risk.
This approach also places a premium on better policing of claims, and
record keeping of loss histories.
Tuesday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m., participants will meet in a strategic
planning session to develop action plans and appoint work groups to move
ahead on possible long-term solutions.
"We need to address insurance and horse racing from a national perspective
like we are with medication," said Dan Fick, the AQHA Executive Director
of Racing. "This industry needs to provide adequate coverage for
all of the backstretch workers and participants on horseback. There are
too many injuries that are slipping through the cracks while the horsemen
are paying outrageous rates in some states. The processing for claims
is slow and the investigation of fraud is often non-existent. We want
to look at this from a long-term prospective. The industry should not
expect any quick fixes from this summit."
A report of the recommendations from the strategic planning session will
be given during an "Industry Initiatives" panel on Wednesday
during the Arizona Racing Symposium. The summit will be held in the Loews
Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona.