Risky Play and Insurance

Outdoor play programs have to demonstrate to insurance companies their policies and procedures for offering a safe, high quality experience. 

Some insurance companies have experience insuring outdoor play programs and many do not. The insurance company will ask for details about buildings and structures, staffing, ratios, location and the outdoor setting. They’ll read through your Informed Consent Form, your Emergency Procedures, your Site Risk-Benefit Assessment and the Program/Experience Risk-Benefit Assessment. They’ll likely follow up with questions. 

You may need to share and educate your prospective insurance broker and underwriter. Advocating and communicating about the benefits of risky play, and the processes we use to offer a program that is as safe as necessary, is a part of offering these play experiences. 

If you’re looking to insure your outdoor play program it can be helpful to chat with similar programs in your province to learn about their insurance experiences and which companies are already informed and supportive of the processes that support these programs.

What to Know About Insuring your Forest School (27 minutes)
A Child and Nature Alliance of Canada Podcast

This podcast was originally posted on CNAC’s website as part of Thrive Outside — an online resource hub created to support parents, caregivers, and educators in bringing children outdoors. 

Is insuring a Forest School a difficult process? Michael Lough from Frank Cowan Company says: Not if you’re prepared! In this episode, learn about the types of insurance Forest/Nature School operators should look for and how to best prepare for a conversation with an insurance underwriter.

Reflective Sharing Prompt: Consider the place you work in or a program you know well What do you think was considered in insuring the program? Include the location (with proximity to hazards), the structures, the kinds of activities or experiences offered, the demonstration of processes to mitigate risks, responsiveness of staff to the environment and weather, emergency procedures and the numbers of children in program and ratios.