Do you have a formal WRITTEN training guide for each inflatable device that is in your inventory? Remember if it is not written it doesn’t exist. Verbal training is hearsay. Each employee should have a signed and dated training guide for each device. Have you and your employees received training on each device from the manufacturer? Have you received online training from companies like Sioto? You would be amazed at how many employees have stated to me that they didn’t know the simplest rules of operation of the device. Most of the rules are printed on the side of each inflatable and most employees did not ever read them!
So, what causes claims in the inflatable rental industry? From reviewing the claims reports, doing inspections, seeing the items that are being repaired and why, I can name quite a few issues. I have been insuring inflatables for 14 years now and have seen a lot of issues that could be avoided with a little training. This article is to help the rental operator avoid the potential of claims that could cause their insurance to be non-renewed or increased premiums.
First let’s start with the basics, the inflatable devices themselves. You would be amazed at how many devices I see being rented that have issues such as rips, tears, unattached steps, cracked vinyl, torn slide panels, torn netting on the sides of bounce house, etc. I understand wanting to rent the item, but sending out one that has issues will eventually cost you thousands in claims, deductibles, and lost business due to people saying negative things about your inventory. Bottom line, do not send a unit out that needs ANYTHING repaired on it.
Next take a look at your waiver and rental agreement. Hopefully you have incorporated or formed an LLC so your personal assets are not at risk. Does your paperwork have the corporate name as well as your business name included? Has your attorney reviewed your documents to make sure they correspond with your states regulations? If you are a sole proprietor, do you list your name with your business name? For example John Doe dba All My Bouncers would be a smart way to make sure you are covered under that waiver of liability and rental agreement. Does your waiver and rental agreement have strong assumption of risk wording?
Do you always have the person who is named on the contract sign when dropping off or do you allow just anyone to sign? Do you have a safety sheet for operation of the rental units that is signed off by the renter?
Do you have a formal WRITTEN training guide for each device that is in your inventory? Remember if it is not written it doesn’t exist. Verbal training is hearsay. Each employee should have a signed and dated training guide for each device. Have you and your employees received training on each device from the manufacturer? Have you received online training from companies like Sioto? You would be amazed at how many employees have stated to me that they didn’t know the simplest rules of operation of the device. Most of the rules are printed on the side of each device and most employees did not ever read them!
Do you use the right size stakes for the device? What are the right sizes? Do you use the correct weight if using sand bags?
Do you check the weather reports each morning for wind or rain conditions and warn your customer of possible challenges?
Do you take pictures of the device when set up and when picking up to show the status, stakes are in the ground with cones protecting them, the unit is clean, the unit is working, etc.?
These simple steps will pay HUGE dividends for your business and the will help the success and future growth.
Insurance Claims cause your premiums to rise. There are 4 (very preventable) common causes of claims in the inflatable rental industry.
1) The first cause of claims is: Lack of trained supervision. Are your employees trained in the proper procedures? Do they know how many people are allowed on a certain inflatable at one time? Do they know the height and weight limits? Do you have enough employees to monitor the whole area?
Making sure that you have enough employees and that they are properly trained can drastically reduce the amount of accidents that happen on your inflatables.
2) Overloaded inflatables: When you rent out your inflatables, do you make sure the people operating them know the maximum limit of kids playing at one time? Do you make sure your employees do not allow the inflatables to become overloaded?
Again make sure employees are trained, and as for customers renting the inflatables make sure your stress the importance of not overloading the inflatables for safety reasons.
3) Inflatables not Tethered Properly: This is a very big cause of accidents. Are you using the right size stakes? Is the inflatable completely secured at all points? If the inflatable is not tethered properly a sudden wind gust could cause the inflatable to topple, injuring anyone inside or near it at the time.
4) Lack of Proper Maintenance: Do you inspect your inflatables for tears? If you find a tear do you take it somewhere to be properly repaired? Or do you try to repair it yourself?
Tears in the inflatables can cause sudden deflation, and of course, injury. If you decided to repair an inflatable yourself…maybe with duct tape, you will definitely be found at fault.