If your facility provides in-house valet parking services for your members and their guests, you are liable for any damages to these vehicles while under your care, custody or control. Your exposure exists whether you normally provide valet services for your facility or whether this service is only provided during special events. Based on Bollinger club loss experience, most losses associated with valet parking are directly related to preventable accidents attributed to backing, sideswipe collisions and “horseplay.” Inadequate attendant selection criteria, youthful drivers and lack of direct monitoring and supervision usually cause these incidents. These preventable accidents represent nearly 77 percent of all valet parking related losses.
Another exposure associated with valet parking is theft or vandalism to vehicles under the care, custody and control of the club. These losses represent nearly eight percent of the total valet parking claims for the program. Clubs need to consider the overall security of the designated parking area including location, lighting and supervision.
You may want to consider contracting your valet parking service to a professional service provider in order to transfer the risk to the valet service provider. If this is done, the provider’s credentials and insurance should be examined and references verified. Liability exposures created by the use of outside contractors can be managed through contractor selection, contractual agreements and certificates of insurance. In addition, you should work with the contractor to familiarize them with your specific policies regarding accident prevention and accident reporting for your operation.
Contractor selection is the key to effective loss control. Potential contractors should be required to submit information about their work experience, labor source and references. This information should include current copies of all applicable licenses or certifications. All references should be verified.
Legal counsel should review all contracts prior to acceptance. Risk transfer mechanisms, such as indemnification or hold harmless agreements, should be used whenever possible. Require contractors to provide certificates of appropriate liability insurance. These certificates should be current and be maintained for the length of the contract. Where possible, list your club as an additional named insured.
Tom Walker is area executive VP for RPS Bollinger Sports & Leisure. He has served on several club boards and committees, and is a recognized authority on club insurance issues. He can be reached at 800-446-5311 (ext. 8098) or [email protected].