The 2017-2018 fencing season brought a number of changes in memberships, in terms of cost, benefits, and processes. Those changes brought questions. The popularity of our last article on the Regional Event changes resulted in being asked a number of questions from the community on the topic of Memberships and Insurance. Specifically, the Coach Membership and Club Membership, and the insurance policies attached to each. To try and clarify some things, we reached out to US Fencing with the most commonly asked questions from the community and have the answers below.

Q&A With US Fencing

Last season, there was a 7 Day Trial Membership option for beginners in order to retain insurance compliance. There isn’t an updated form for the new season yet. Is this no longer an option or will a new version of the form be coming out soon?

Trial Membership is still an option, here is a link to the newly updated 2017-2018 form.

Are there any plans for the Trial Membership to also be run through the new membership portal and therefore go paperless?

Possibly, but not this season. I do know the paper form will remain (whether we also offer an online option or not), as many people like that they can be filled out on site at the start of a new class – a coach can’t be sure who will show up beforehand.

What is the difference between a Coaching Membership which “includes insurance” and a Club Membership which also “includes insurance”? If a Coach is a member of a Club and both have insurance, how do they interact?

Coach is for an individual, Club covers the business. If a coach is named on a lawsuit, they are covered. If the club is also named, the entire business operation is covered as well. If leasing space, the owner of the facility will want to transfer any liability to the “club”, its owner(s) and to USA Fencing. The Club insurance is valid ONLY if the coaches are Coach members with current background checks and SafeSport training.

Coaches can teach away from their member club and have it be covered as long as the students have USA Fencing memberships or are covered under the 7-day Trial Membership. He/she does not have to register a separate club

Does a Coach need to actually purchase a Coach Membership if their club is already a Member Club or would the Member Club insurance cover coaches?

No, individual coaches need the membership for the club to be in compliance [as noted earlier].

A Final Note From US Fencing

Finally, a quick note that was passed along but not directly related to any question asked:

Some clubs have questioned the value of the USA Fencing membership and associated insurance and gone out and found other options. But, Clubs should absolutely be sure they are getting an apples to apples policy. Many do not have even come close to the same coverage and might be putting themselves and their clubs/businesses at risk.

Memberships and Insurance Recap

To quickly recap the major takeaways:

  • For a club to be fully compliant, all of its members must be US Fencing members. Including brand new fencers, who must fill out and send in a trial membership form on their first day of class (and who must sign up for some form of membership after 7 days are up).
  • For a club to be fully compliant, all of its coaches must be Coach members with up-to-date SafeSport and background checks on file. Per the Insurance FAQ, all non-coaching members/officers of the club’s business structure must also be Professional members with up-to-date SafeSport and background checks on file as well.
  • The number of practice locations a club has doesn’t necessarily matter, as long as all other compliance rules are followed. For insurance purposes, the club is the business entity, not the location.
  • If your club has an insurance policy from a third party, its worth double checking to ensure your coverage is the same. If it isn’t, you can still take advantage of the US Fencing policy, as long as you maintain compliance.