appropriately,” said Thomassie, who speaks frequently at
outdoor recreation industry conferences and seminars.
“What you have to do is very quickly and very humanely
handle the situation. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking
care of them from a humanistic perspective. What takes
place in the moments or hours or days after an incident really
dictates how the thing ends up and whether you get sued or
not. A lot of that depends on what happens after the incident.”
No one likes doing paperwork, but Thomassie says it can go
a long way in safeguarding ski area operations.
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“Most ski areas by this point are really, really good at that.
A lot of them have electronic client management systems
where every incident is going in and recorded, and the
system can spit out all kinds of metrics. Conversely, you still
have some operators who only have a notebook in the back
for a reporting system,” he said.
Write it down
“If you don’t have the incident written down somewhere,
it essentially means that it didn’t happen. If it’s not written
down, you have to go later on and try and prove who actually
did what or who was correct or who was lying and who’s not.
You usually have to hire attorneys to prove it and that can be
pretty expensive. One piece of paper with a simple statement
can save you from having to do that.”
Another important consideration when reviewing risk
management policies and procedures is that ski area
operators ensure insurance policies meet their needs,
Thomassie says. He suggests that operators compile an up-to-
date list of all the activities they offer and then compare
it with their insurer to ensure there are no gaps in coverage.
Insuring a ski area has become a far more complicated
affair over the past 20 to 30 years as these operations now
offer a far wider range of services than they did a couple
Although standard property, casualty and general liability
coverage are still required, Thomassie says operators also
need to “be looking at everything” in terms of addressing
their insurance needs, including cyber threats, directors and
officers, errors and omissions, sexual abuse and molestation,
and liquor liability.
“In today’s world, I don’t think there’s anything that should
be off the table,” he said.
What might surprise some is that simple slip and falls
are another huge concern for most ski area operations.
Such incidents can potentially cost operators tens of thou-sands
of dollars in unforeseen costs whether it is injuries to
employees or customers.
Tommy Thomassie of Prime Insurance says ski areas and resorts
should follow all local and federal standards this season when it
comes to safeguarding their operations and guests from COVID-19
“What takes place in the
moments or hours or days after
an incident really dictates
how the thing ends up and
whether you get sued or not.
A lot of that depends on what
happens after the incident.”
– Tommy Thomassie, Prime Insurance Company
PHOTO COURTESY OF BENJAMIN REECE
22 January 2021 | snowopsmag.com