The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” This ladies and gentlemen is why I am here to help you.
My name is Ashley Crowther. I am the Senior Executive Commercial agent with Durante Insurance and Financial Services in Las Vegas, NV. I was recently appointed as the Insurance Compliance officer for United Mixed Martial Arts Federation- Kick International (UMMAF). I was honored to accept this position, as over the last year we have learned of many downfalls in the MMA industry when it comes to insurance.
My background consists of an associate degree in paramedic medicine and 12 years’ experience in Emergency Medical Services. During my schooling I worked for Durante Insurance and then went back into EMS. I have extensive experience in the combat sports industry, beginning my MMA career as a cut woman for a local promoter. I have also worked numerous MMA events in the Las Vegas area including the inaugural IMMAF World Championships. After being medically retired out of EMS I went back to my first love and passion of commercial insurance. I have had the pleasure of writing general liability and medical policies for many promoters over the years.
Recently it was brought to my attention that there was a greater need for industry specific insurance for MMA outside of a typical run of the mill event policy. As many of you know that there are very few insurance companies that are even willing to write a policy for anything MMA, let alone hundreds of them a year. That’s when I went on a mission to see if I could gather data from all states and set a nationwide limit that would satisfy all sanctioning bodies as well as athletic commissions. Boy was I WRONG. After hundreds of phone calls and e-mails back and forth it was shocking to me to find out that there was no common ground for insurance requirements across the states. Some states knew exactly what they wanted and required very high limits, others said “Whatever the sanctioning body wants”, others had limits so low that a visit to an emergency room would not even be covered.
Let’s take a moment to think about this. As a fighter or a coach would you be scared to know that you or your fighter could step into a cage, receive a blow to the head that puts him in critical condition, send him off to the ER only to find out nothing more than $500 dollars of that visit was covered? Why, you ask? Because a typical accidental medical policy has an ER visit cap of $500….. but this is only valid after the fighter submitted the claim to his primary or private insurance plan who would have had to pay first, thus leaving the fighter with a medical co-pay, the promoter with a deductible and the fighter with the remainder of the bill. It is important to remember that some states only request a secondary medical policy for fighters. This means that if their regular health insurance does not cover them for some reason the secondary policy provided by the promoter will not provide any coverage. Now you may ask what kind of health insurance will not cover the fighter; and the answer is simple, many of the pre-ACA (Affordable Care Act) policies did not cover what they referred to as dangerous hobbies or activities one of which was any combat sport. In these cases, a fighter may believe they have primary coverage through their health insurance however several grandfathered policies still exist which will deny coverage and if the fighter medical policy provided by the promoter is secondary, there would be no coverage for the fighter at all, since a secondary medical policy only activates after coverage is given through a primary or athletes private policy. In that event the fighter’s primary policy would decline thus not triggering the secondary policy to pay a dime. This is not something that anyone would have known up front, but with knowledge of the risk and UMMAF’s dedication to the safe regulation of MMA, it is something that through education we can try to avoid.
I have worked with FDL, Durante Insurance and UMMAF to create a program that attempts to alleviate some of the issues that we have found across the industry thus far. At this point I was able to have a special program created for UMMAF and its promoters. This program lifts the limitations set by other policies, it also has set limits by state that satisfy the state athletic commissions along with meeting UMMAF’s requirements for coverage. This specialized program was only possible due to the strict requirements that UMMAF has of its fighters, promoters, officials and especially their referees to ensure fighter safety. The fact that UMMAF has one rule set, requires medical exams with blood work annually (even for amateur participants), utilizes and recognizes referee training courses, requires that participants wear shin guards and headgear (Kickboxing) for tournaments and has a licensed insurance agent as an insurance officer are just a few of the reasons that the company was willing to provide a specialized program. I look forward to making MMA a safer place for us all and exposing the gaps and loopholes in combat insurance coverages that leave athletes believing they are covered adequately, when in fact they are not. I am honored to be a part of the UMMAF family and look forward to speaking with you
Senior Executive Commercial Agent
UMMAF Insurance Compliance Officer