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Student Scuba Insurance vs. Instructor Professional Liability Insurance
Greg - 9/03/2013 1:58 PM
Category: Health & Safety
Replies: 11

I’d like to discuss the possibility of changing the insurance needs in the Scuba Diving Industry. It’s been my opinion that health insurance sucks (to put it bluntly). The entire health care industry sucks. Everything is too expensive! Without health insurance, I would have paid over $500 for my two boys to get a steroid shot to help with poison ivy...and we didn’t even see a doctor...the nurse gave the shot and we were in and out in less than 15 mins.

Health care is expensive, in large part, because of lawsuits. People suing doctors for problems they encountered while receiving the health care.

As a scuba instructor, I’m required by my certification agency to carry professional liability insurance. That insurance is very expensive. What would happen in the scuba industry if students were required to purchase an insurance policy rather than the instructor?

Does having insurance give peace of mind to a new student that they will be safe and the instructor is good? Does the student think... "He must be a good instructor because he has insurance." OR "I feel better about the risks involved because my instructor has insurance." ??

Is a scuba student more likely to assume the risks and liability of scuba diving if they were required to purchase the insurance? The student could potentially learn more, practice more, make safer/smarter decisions. There would be no more suing scuba instructors. The student may care more about the equipment they purchased. The student may want to know more about their dive buddy and their dive buddy’s gear. The student may want to learn more about the dive site and any concerns to be aware of.

New students would use sites like DiveBuddy, Yelp or Facebook to ask other scuba divers about good instructors. The market itself would weed out bad instructors.

I just personally feel that requiring instructors to maintain multi-million dollar insurance policies invites abuse from the legal system. What do you think?
Brian_V - 9/03/2013 2:31 PM an instructor who is currently in the middle of the litigation process, even though I did nothing wrong, violated no standards or procedures, but still find myself having to defend ALL my actions, I’m with Greg on this one! The ONLY reason I’m getting sued is because I have that million dollar insurance policy! Move that burden over to the student’s side of the pool and see how drastically the number of lawsuits drop!
diverray - 9/03/2013 9:08 PM
It’s the legal theory of the solvent bystander.
btw2459 - 9/05/2013 2:32 AM
I think we should recognize that if students (or qualified divers as well) were made to take out specific dive insurance then there wouldn’t be the recreational sport of scuba diving. I consider myself a responsible diver and therefore I took out DAN insurance for myself and my family, who all dive.

Also, and I’m only speaking for myself, I do not ever see myself, or my family trying to sue the dive professional who trained us. If I was unhappy with the level of training we received I would be having a conversation with the instructor intially, if that wasn’t successful then the dive shop and if I still wasn’t getting satisfaction then the certifying agency.
Greg - 9/05/2013 6:17 AM
What about requiring student insurance only during training? Then insurance remains optional after certification.
Brian_V - 9/05/2013 7:38 AM
From btw2459: I do not ever see myself, or my family trying to sue the dive professional who trained us.
Well, you can really only speak for yourself when it comes to this, but I like your ethical stand. The problem is that if you’re gone, and DOZENS of lawyers continually badger your family, promising to get them MILLIONS of dollars, and it costs them NOTHING if they don’t get that money, they might just give in to that. They might just cave to get the lawyers to leave them alone!
BlueGil - 9/05/2013 7:25 PM
I wonder how fast all the scuba shops and instructors would be out of business because nobody would want the hassle of acquiring student insurance?
tazzer9797 - 9/05/2013 9:26 PM
I think students wouldn’t be all that out if done right.. An extra couple pages to read and a few extra dollars and all done with not a big deal made... My problem is ... I am a Dive Master and when on charters I cant be everywhere... Most charter services may put 1 or 2 DM’s in the water for say 10 or so certified divers. One or two divers fall behind to take pictures etc, or purposely separate and something happens. Next thing you know I am in court for neglect... Death of a loved one and the thought of a big pay day make people do strange things... Not trying to be a jerk , I don’t have an answer. It is a subject that gets talked about a lot .. I do know one thing, I think twice when doing what I love to do.. teach scuba diving ... and that’s sad....
Greg - 9/06/2013 5:18 AM
I suppose a movement like this would have to start at the certification agency, and since forcing the need for insurance on instructors does not cost the agency anything, they have no reason to start this. A whole new agency would need to be created OR an existing agency would need to get some balls and try this in attempt to take market share from other agencies. I am a PADI instructor now, but if another agency said they wouldn’t require their instructors to have professional liability insurance, and instead required the student...I would consider crossing over.
ReconShark - 9/07/2013 8:01 AM
Well, there you go. Have all dive shops require students to carry a Personal Injury Ins policy, either through DAN or their own Ins. carrier. The dive shops may also want to make this a requirement of the student, maybe offering a group policy with the costs built in with their classes. Also, what about the certifying agencies, offering Ins policies to students when in training ?

Until the day comes where the student can train themselves via DVD’s, books, etc (getting there) and then hires an Instructor just to do Skill level check-offs (like an auto DL test), Tort Law will always hold the professional liable, no matter how many disclosures/ disclaimers the student signs.
johncortez - 5/03/2017 8:42 AM
I know how much you are risking everytime you are doing your work,especially you are a scuba instructor and eventually, made an error that lead to injuries and other casualties and you don’t know where to go and to depend your security and reputation,it is really hard to find the right professional liability agency or company.I saw a website that might help you to protect your reputation and provide guidance and assistance in case you might made a mistake or you think you haven’t done wrong in your work. And maybe this website might help you in the problem you are facing now. it helps you out in your problem and it is incredibly affordable trust me)