Working Group Issues Insurance Conclusions

The NTRA Jockey Accident Insurance Working Group, in a report that appears mostly advisory in nature, has suggested all segments of the racing industry, including jockeys, help pay for additional insurance coverage for riders.

The working group met for the first time last November and released its conclusions April 22. Several racetracks already have taken steps to increase on-track accident insurance for jockeys from a maximum of $100,000 to a maximum of $1 million.

A subcommittee of the working group identified a private insurance solution through AIG, which has since written policies for a number of NTRA-member racetracks, including Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Emerald Downs, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Hoosier Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Sunland Park, and Turfway Park.

The working panel has recommended:

- Comprehensive workers' compensation coverage should be a major consideration in all jurisdictions where workers' compensation isn't available. Programs in California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York should serve as industry models.

- Coverage through a private insurance carrier or formation of a private insurance captive should be given consideration as an alternative to state-legislated workers' compensation.

- The industry should strive to raise the level of accidental insurance coverage for jockeys to levels commensurate with coverage provided by the Jockeys' Guild before it discontinued catastrophic accident coverage on behalf of its members.

- Though placement of coverage and funding must be resolved by industry participants in individual jurisdictions, all segments of the industry, including jockeys, should contribute to the funding of any additional insurance coverage.

The working group, in a release, said it would assist in development of language for workers' compensation legislation. Kentucky is one state that may pursue legislation next year.

"Insurance coverage is a critical issue in virtually every racing jurisdiction throughout the United States," NTRA commissioner D.G. Van Clief Jr. said in the release. "In states where horsemen and racing associations are in agreement on this issue and choose to make it a priority, the NTRA will actively lend its support to trying to find a solution that covers the broadest number of industry participants."