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Company Offers COVID-19 Insurance for Athletic Depts.

Brock Fritz

An insurance broker is offering college athletic departments a coverage policy if student-athletes are hospitalized by COVID-19.

According to ESPN, Berkley Accident & Health’s new policy is only available to NCAA-member schools, which have until Nov. 20 to enroll.

"I think we have all learned a lot about ourselves throughout the pandemic, and one of those things is the importance of sports,” said Susan M. Clarke, president of Berkley Accident & Health’s Special Risk Division. “If we could help colleges mitigate the risk to help decide how to get student-athletes back playing safely, we were all-in."

According to ESPN, average Division I schools would pay at least $32,500 for the COVID-19 insurance. Alex Fairly, who brokered the policy as CEO of The Fairly Group, told ESPN that universities can either pay $65 per student-athlete to purchase coverage for individual COVID-19-related medical expenses up to $150,000. For up to $85 per athlete, the coverage increases to $250,000. The policy carries a $5,000 deductible and includes a $10,000 death benefit.

In August, the NCAA’s board of governors required schools playing through the pandemic to “cover COVID-19-related medical expenses for student-athletes to prevent out-of-pocket expenses for college athletes and their families.”

Fairly said a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary dropped out right before the delayed college football season started due to “reputational risk.”

"I was stunned," Fairly said, according to ESPN. "It was the first time in my 25 years that a program which was agreed and bound was nixed 12 hours before it was to go live."

Berkley Accident & Health is part of commercial insurance company W.R. Berkley Corp.

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