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Extra insurance advisable for leisure activities


On Jan 30, a 34-year-old man was flung from a roller coaster car while riding the Maihime (dancing princess) ride at the Tokyo Dome City Attractions amusement park. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but died from his injuries about two hours later.

The victim was described as being of a hefty build, and this may have been a factor in the mishap as it appeared likely the car's safety bar had not been securely locked beforehand -- resulting in his being thrown from the car a height of nearly 8 meters.

The Tokyo metropolitan police, investigating possible professional negligence resulting in death, descended on the operator's offices and carted away boxes of documents.

According to news reports, the investigation is focusing on whether or not the ride's attendant, a part-time employee at the park, followed correct procedures when confirming that the bar was locked in place before the start of the ride.

Well, sighs Nikkan Gendai (Feb 18), the damage has been done. What are the operator's liabilities likely to be in such cases? And considering the situation from the wider perspective, how much coverage do regular insurance policies provide for oneself and one's family for accidents occurring during leisure activities?

The Tokyo Dome operators are not ready to talk to the media. When questioned about the size of compensation for the fatal accident, a spokesperson would only say, "At this time, we must refrain from any comments out of consideration for the family of the deceased."

So Nikkan Gendai turned to Kenta Fukumoto, president of insurance consultancy called Medical Insurance Service.

"In the case of accidents at leisure facilities, three types of insurance policies are usually involved," says Fukumoto. "These are regular life insurance; accident insurance; and liability compensation insurance. The first two are taken out by individuals. The third would be taken out by the operators.

"Theme parks, zoos, sea parks, ski resorts and so on, usually carry liability policies. In general, the amount paid out to an individual claim is usually capped at 100 million yen. The insurance company pays the claim to the policy holder."

While parks operated by private corporations in Japan tend to be fairly consistent about taking out policies, apparently those operated as public leisure facilities vary widely. For instance, the public swimming pools operated by the Tokyo metropolitan government carry no liability insurance, which means a person who drowns, or is injured while on the premises will not receive compensation -- raising the likelihood of litigation down the road.

Fukumoto also provides some insurance advice for people to consider before they engage in sports or recreation.

First, with the exception of activities deemed exceptionally risky, a regular accident insurance policy normally covers most activities as swimming at pools or the beach, camping, skiing, trekking, jogging, marathons, golf, cycling, SCUBA diving, wind surfing, snorkeling and so on.

In the case of mountain climbing, with the exception of scaling sheer surfaces that requires use of ice picks and other specialized paraphernalia, or in situations like climbing Mt Fuji during the off season, regular accident insurance is probably sufficient.

Those considering running in marathons should inquire with the event's organizer, which in many cases would be expected to arrange its own coverage.

Slightly riskier activities such as hang gliding, sky diving, bob sledding, etc, may also be covered by paying an additional premium to an existing accident policy.

While you're at it, check the terms of your life policy, says Fukumoto. It may provide for accident coverage as well.

"When injuries are incurred during leisure or sports activities, even if a person doesn't have an injury policy, there are situations in which a life policy will provide some payout," Fukumoto points out.

"Liability insurance, on the other hand, will be paid out when it is determined that 'injury was caused to a third party' or 'expensive equipment was damaged,'" he adds.

Additional provisions for personal injury liability can also be added to regular policies. The most sensible move, recommends Fukumoto, is to balance coverage so that you are protected while at the same time you're in a position to compensate another party for whose injury you might be held liable.

© Japan Today

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“Theme parks, zoos, sea parks, ski resorts and so on, usually carry liability policies.

What about surfers.

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What happens if my surfboard runs over a little old lady in Queensland who's swimming across a flooded street?

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This reminds me of the time when a family member and I were riding a roller coaster in an amusement park in the States. When we started the ride, there was a guy in the car in front of us. But by the time we finished, the car in front of us was empty. The guy was no more there. We believed that we had seen a ghost. But now, I am not too sure.

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@sqwak -- are you sure the ride wasn't in the Spook House? BTW, the 100 million yen payout stated in the story seems like a nice, round figure, provided there are no national and local taxes on it.

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Yap, keep people afraid at home watching TV, is the better way to shut up their mouths and keep them focussed on their jobs.

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Government health insurance doesn't cover your injuries?

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How can liability insurance have a cap on it? If the medical treatment for injuries caused by the policyholder come to more than that amount, who pays? Getting said policyholder to pay would probably take years in court with millions (in yen) in attorney fees.

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Everyone know insurance companies will wriggle as much as they can to avoid paying out on any policy.

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If the medical treatment for injuries caused by the policyholder come to more than that amount, who pays?

This is the risk of the policy holder.

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By the time you've paid your premiums for the national health insurance, life insurance, cancer insurance, auto insurance, house and earthquake insurance, dog insurance and now leisure insurance, you'll have no money left to actually go out and enjoy your life.

Of course that is exactly what insurance companies want - take your money then watch you sit at home behind the tv watching more insurance commercials because you can't afford to take a holiday.

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society is becoming so risk averse. and in Jaspan safety is taken to new levels of busybodyness. taking insurance againsy ANYTHING is logical next step.

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On Jan 30, a 34-year-old man was flung from a roller coaster car while riding the Maihime (dancing princess) ride at the Tokyo Dome City Attractions amusement park.

I am so glad that they translated Maihime for us there. If they didn't the article would be incomprehensible.

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A growing number of people are purchasing personal accident insurance to help protect from the expenses and recurring effects of an accident. It offers compensation following a dangerous or debilitating personal accident. I'll share six good reasons why you should purchase personal accident insurance: Personal accident insurance can protect you from ongoing expense, makes medical expenses trivial, protects both you and your family, can be bought through an employer and last of all is priced quite resonably. People make mistakes when choosing regular life insurance because they don't want to consider what would happen if their policies actually come into play. Many people don't need life insurance and are misled into believing that it is necessary for them. If you don't have any dependents, if your spouse is financially independent, if you and your spouse have saved enough to cover costs as long as you live, or if you are already elderly and have enough savings to be independent from anyone else, than you may not need to worry about life insurance at all. Of course, you can't predict the future and many people outlive their own policies, but the point of life insurance is to insure against what you can't predict and to be secure in your life.

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