Over 35% of fitness instructors may not be covered to run online sessions

Joe Wicks

An expert is urging personal trainers and fitness instructors to ensure they have the correct insurance in place to cover them in the event of injury to the public during live-streamed classes.

The warning, from the UK’s most trusted sports insurance specialist, Insure4Sport, comes in response to the huge rise in participation of online fitness sessions since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

This has ranged from one-to-one client sessions to group classes offered by staff at major gym chains. Most recently, influencer Joe Wicks has hosted online PE lessons, in which millions of school children have so far taken part.

However, a survey of  fitness instructors, coaches and personal trainers has found over a third are operating without adequate professional insurance to carry out online sessions. So, despite the great intentions of the instructor, this leaves both them and their clients open to potential issues should an injury happen during a class.

Online sessions can carry more risk as the trainer is unable to correct technique in person and therefore cannot ensure the same levels of safety. Specialist cover is therefore required.

John Woosey, Managing Director of Insure4Sport, commented: “These are difficult times for everybody, so it’s fantastic to see how many fitness coaches are taking the initiative and moving their businesses online. They’re doing a great job which means they can continue to earn a living whilst helping the nation to stay active at a safe distance.

“However, it’s important that – amidst this upheaval – instructors maintain their professional responsibility to their clients and themselves. It’s likely that thousands of UK consumers will be taking up at-home workouts during the coming months, many of whom may be new to fitness and therefore susceptible to injuries and damage caused by improper posture or technique.

“Participants should take it upon themselves to double-check that their instructor has the right insurance, so that they are protected should the worst happen. For the personal trainers, let this serve as a gentle reminder to relook at your policy which may not cover you for this type of work.”

Insure4Sport has provided information on how personal trainers and fitness instructors are affected by the coronavirus outbreak via its website. The business has also introduced a free-of-charge upgrade for its policyholders that covers them for online classes of up to 30 participants.