Does Your Insurance Agent Even Lift?
Few of us want to read or think about insurance.
The word brings up images of suits and fluorescent lights and forms with terms such as “aggregate limit,” “indemnity” and “subrogation.” We’d all much rather talk about cleans, muscle-ups and burpees. (Maybe not burpees.)
Insurance only becomes interesting when you need it, and when that time comes—when a pipe bursts, for example—you don’t want to have to explain to a suit why you need to replace your rusted barbells that won’t spin.
Luckily, at Nexo Insurance Services, you can talk about barbells and burpees all you want—perhaps in the office of the CFO, next to the framed print of Pukie the clown. Located in Manhattan Beach, California, the company is the managing general underwriter of CrossFit RRG, insurance by and for the CrossFit community.
The First Phone Call
Eric Reingen, the vice president and CFO of Nexo Insurance Services, is an affiliate owner who has been doing CrossFit for more than a decade.
He is also the person RRG members talk to when something terrible happens in their affiliates.
“That’s the most vulnerable moment,” Reingen said about the initial phone call in an insurance claim.
“When we intake a claim and someone has a question, they talk to someone who is senior,” Reingen said. “No big insurance company would do that.”
The goal of CrossFit RRG, the insurance company created and owned by CrossFit, is to protect CrossFit and its affiliates. Its focus is not on profits but on serving and defending CrossFit affiliates, including providing access to the CrossFit legal team if necessary.
Reingen started CrossFit in 2003, when his soccer coach at the University of California-Irvine gave the team CrossFit workouts in training. In 2009, he started working for the RRG and began training at CrossFit 310, which he runs with several partners. Now Reingen and most of the RRG staff work out midday at CrossFit Rising Wave in nearby El Segundo, California.
Reingen’s CrossFit history is important because a stressed owner doesn’t have to spend the first part of the phone call explaining CrossFit.
In this initial call, Reingen’s goal is to make the affiliate owner comfortable.
“I make sure they don’t freak out, I tell them everything is going to be OK, and I give them reassurance that we know CrossFit,” Reingen said.
He can also offer the owner guidance about what might be covered.
“If there’s water damage to the gym from a pipe breaking, and water got on the barbells and they stop spinning, that’s a covered claim,” Reingen said.
After chatting with the affiliate owner and getting the details of the claim, Reingen then passes the property claim along to an adjuster, but he’s always available to affiliate owners at any point during the claim process.
A water-damaged gym is bad enough, but a personal-injury lawsuit is every affiliate owner’s worst nightmare.
The RRG’s approach to lawsuits is different from that of most insurance companies.
“Big insurance companies worry about how they can close the file,” Reingen said, “and the RRG has the exact opposite approach. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend affiliates.”
Owned by CrossFit, the RRG has a goal of protecting the CrossFit name from abuse in frivolous or badly defended cases. Every personal-injury case settled against a CrossFit affiliate sets a precedent, and too many settled cases hurt the CrossFit brand and community, so the RRG prioritizes defending the affiliate over saving money.
“The RRG is insurance for its own. They will drink, eat and breathe protection. You can’t put a value on that.”-Grace Patenaude
If you ever find yourself in a holy-shit-someone-just-sued-me situation, the RRG will step in to find an attorney in your area who understands CrossFit: CrossFit’s head counsel personally researches and vets attorneys in your city to find the best person to represent your case.
“Another insurance carrier might dump my case to a low-hourly-wage lawyer, but this organization (the RRG) will bend over backwards for you,” said Grace Patenaude, a coach at Atomic CrossFit and an RRG board member.
“The RRG is insurance for its own. They will drink, eat and breathe protection. You can’t put a value on that,” she said.
Affiliate owners who shop around will notice the RRG is not the lowest-priced option. There’s a reason for this. When someone tells you your monthly rate is higher than that of the globo gym down the street, you tell them CrossFit gyms are typically more expensive than traditional gyms because of the experienced coaches, the one-on-one attention and the sense of community.
It’s the same with the RRG. It’s not the lowest-priced insurance option for affiliate owners, but it’s tailored specifically for CrossFit gyms and offers personalized customer service.
That matters when you need something to save your business from disaster.
All Affiliates Benefit
In the early days, when someone asked CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman “what is CrossFit?” he’d reply, “Come to my class at 6 a.m. and I’ll show you.”
He knew CrossFit had to be experienced to be understood.
For Kurtis Bowler—an affiliate owner since June 2004 and an RRG member and board member—it’s important that the people defending his gym are CrossFit athletes.
“They are CrossFit people,” Bowler said of the RRG. “They do the workouts.”
Reingen says he’s always available to affiliates who need help, and he’s happy to step in if they feel their claim is being handled poorly.
“Usually me making a call can open some doors,” Reingen said.
Affiliate owners who don’t use the RRG for their insurance still benefit from the work being done to defend against frivolous lawsuits.
“Because of how it affects everybody else, the more affiliates we have (in the RRG), the better. (They have) the best interests of the affiliates at heart,” Bowler said.
You might not want to think about insurance, but in the RRG’s case, insurance is thinking about you.
About the Author: Hilary Achauer is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and wellness content. In addition to writing articles, online content, blogs and newsletters, Hilary writes for the CrossFit Journal. To contact her, visit hilaryachauer.com.
Cover image: iStockphoto.com/PeopleImages