Continuing its efforts to protect the safety and well-being of its participants, the National Steeplechase Association has obtained accident-insurance coverage for its licensed jockeys.

The coverage, which begins with the start of the 2011 spring racing season at Aiken, S.C., on March 26, takes effect when the jockey's personal medical benefit is exhausted. To be licensed to ride in NSA sanctioned races in 2011, jockeys will be required to provide proof of health coverage.
"This is a very important step forward in assuring the well-being of our jockeys," said NSA President Guy Torsilieri. "The sport is indebted to Bill Price, chairman of the Queen's Cup Steeplechase, for spearheading the initiative to obtain this coverage. His commitment to protecting our jockeys' health moved this effort forward very quickly."

Provided by Zurich Insurance Co., the coverage contains an accidental death benefit of up to $250,000, a $1-million excess accident medical benefit, and a weekly disability benefit of up to $200 per week for 104 weeks.

The coverage will be underwritten by an increase in the annual jockey license to $200 from $100, a $5 per-mount fee, and $10 start fee for owners. The policy covers race meets and does not apply to pari-mutuel meets conducted under state racing commission rules, which mandate their own coverage standards.

"This should be a self-funding program," said Price, chief executive of Sonitrol Security Systems in Charlotte, N.C.. He worked closely with Frank Petramalo, a Virginia-based former NSA director, and Jeff Teter, director of the Carolina Cup and Colonial Cup Races in Camden, S.C. "The desire to provide coverage was there, and my team of Frank and Jeff saw it through," he said.

Price had obtained coverage for jockeys riding in the Queen's Cup in 2008, and he approached his Wells Fargo Insurance agent about obtaining accident coverage for all the race meets. The agent's inquiries led to Zurich. "We found out that Zurich insures a number of jockeys around the world, and this was not unusual for them," Price said.

He credited Torsilieri for formulating the excess accident coverage into an NSA policy. "He asked some very good, tough questions, and those questions helped to make sure the program was going to work," Price said. "Most importantly, Guy picked up the ball and ran with it. He likes to see things get done."

For further information, contact Don Clippinger at (814) 515-3113.