Jockeys' Guild Calls For $1M Policies
A call to action from the Jockeys' Guild.
By Jockeys' Guild | March 31, 2014
The recent severe racing injuries to Jockeys’ Guild member Anne Von Rosen at Turf Paradise highlights the problem of under-insured race tracks for Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse jockeys.
As a result of the injuries that Anne suffered after the first race on March 11, 2014, it is clear that she faces a long process of medical treatments and rehabilitation. We also know, from past experiences, the costs of her medical treatment and rehabilitation will exceed the $500,000 medical coverage provided by the on-track accident policy.
To our knowledge, there are at least 10 other racetracks in the United States that only have $500,000 in medical coverage. Over the last several years, the Guild has discussed with tracks the need for at least $1 million in on-track accident coverage. At the direction of the Jockeys’ Guild Board of Directors, the Guild will contact those tracks which do not have $1 million in on-track coverage and insist they increase their coverage to a minimum of $1 million.
Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Guild, stated, “It is fundamentally unfair to ask riders to risk death or paralysis without keeping in place adequate on track insurance to deal with the actual costs of their injuries and rehabilitation. All race tracks that only have $500,000 on-track coverage must raise their on track insurance to equal at least $1 million dollars. Furthermore, we call on the industry to study whether the $1 million on-track policies are even adequate for today’s medical costs.”
The recent catastrophic experiences of Jacky Martin and Tad Leggett illustrate that a $500,000 on-track accident policy is inadequate. Jacky was injured on September 2, 2011, at Ruidoso Downs. There have been and continue to be fundraising efforts to assist Jacky with his on-going medical expenses. It should be noted, and greatly appreciated, that Ruidoso Downs has since increased their coverage to $1 million. Tad was injured on July 30, 2010, at Fair Meadows at Tulsa. The funding from the insurance was exhausted before he was even able to complete his rehabilitation. Therefore, it was up to him, through the support of his family and friends, to do his own rehabilitation at home.
Additionally, jockeys who ride at tracks in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California, and Idaho are covered by Worker’s Compensation when they sustain on-track injuries. All other injured riders must rely upon the on-track accident policies provided by the racetracks at which they are riding for adequate coverage.
In order to help jockeys when they are unable to ride as a result of injuries, the Guild provides its members with an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) benefit. This benefit is in addition to weekly temporary disability payments for two years. The Guild continues to strive to increase these benefits. The Guild also provides qualifying permanently disabled jockeys with supplemental reimbursements and a life insurance policy. Qualifying permanently disabled riders, Guild and Non-Guild members, may also be eligible for benefits from the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), which the Guild, along with others, was instrumental in establishing.
“While the Guild assists its disabled and permanently disabled riders, that assistance is no substitute for adequate on-track insurance to pay for the medical and rehabilitation that jockeys today face," Meyocks said. "Our industry’s old fashioned response of holding a fundraiser or a bake sale, however well- intentioned and meaningful as a show of personal support for an injured rider, should be in addition to, and not a substitute for at least $1 million in on-track insurance coverage.”
We call on the racing industry and regulators to ensure that no track provide less than $1 million in on-track accident coverage.
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