There are a number of reasons why it is critical to verify insurance coverage for any new programming in a yoga studio. New programming can bring additional risk for a yoga studio and an insurance carrier may not be willing to cover some new risks. A claim from a risk that was undisclosed might not be covered. A studio owner should always ask their insurance agent or their insurance carrier before adding new programming.

At this time, aerial yoga, goat yoga, cat yoga, the sale of CBD products or cannabis can be difficult to obtain insurance coverage for in a standard insurance market. A yoga studio’s current insurance carrier may not be willing to cover these exposures or they might require additional premium to cover the exposures.

The studio’s insurance agent will most likely need to obtain information regarding the amount of sales or number of participants for these exposures to determine if additional premium is needed. They may also ask to verify the safety measures in place to protect students or the product liability of the manufacturer or distributor for retail sales.

For aerial yoga, most insurance carriers want to know how high off the ground the students will be able to go and what padding is on the floor. They may also ask about the installation of the aerial silks.

Adding yoga classes for kids also presents additional exposure for a yoga studio. The studio’s insurance agent will want to verify that procedures are in place to protect the kids before the classes are implemented. Background checks should be performed on all instructors and staff. The kids should either be visible to their parents, if the parents are staying on the premises for class or if the parents are not present, there should always be two adults at a time with the kids.

Finally, hosting special events, including retreats, can increase the exposure for a yoga studio. A studio owner should contact their insurance agent to verify that special events are covered by their policy. Special events include activities that are not part of regular operations or activities off-site. Retreats with overnight stays can be difficult to insure or may require additional premium depending on their location and activities.

The best practice for a yoga studio owner who is considering adding new programming is to contact their insurance agent first to verify insurance coverage and ask questions before implementing the new offering. Understanding the insurance implications up front can help a yoga studio owner grow their business with programming that will not drastically increase risk or significantly raise their insurance premium. 

Jennifer Urmston Lowe is the underwriting manager, national account manager and marketing manager for Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation. She is a founding board member of the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS), a member of Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) and she was selected for the 2018 Insurance Business America Elite Women.