UHSAA agrees to new catastrophic injury coverage
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Midvale • The Utah High School Activities Association's (UHSAA) Board of Trustees convened for the final time of the 2012-13 calendar year Thursday morning in Midvale, and the ever-important catastrophic injury and insurance topic was the primary goal of the meeting.

Wells Fargo insurance broker David Nielson addressed the board members regarding potential options of how to protect student-athletes under the UHSAA athletic umbrella and after hours of deliberation, the board voted unanimously to go sign back on Mutual of Omaha.

The new deal will feature an eventual two-year contract with Mutual of Omaha — with an opportunity to opt out after the first year — with a $75,000 deductible and a raised $3.75 per-athlete premium. The payout remains at $1 million dollar in catastrophic injury scenarios, UHSAA executive director Rob Cuff said.

The new deal will cap medical expenses at $750,000 and will have $250,000 "catastrophic cash" for potential severe injuries to get a head start on becoming accustomed to the impairment.

"In case of paraplegic and quadriplegic [injuries], it gives them money to get going as far as buying a car or other things," Cuff said.

The option voted upon unanimously by the Board of Trustees was one of four presented by Nielson and the Mutual of Omaha, an insurance company that was carried by the UHSAA up until six years ago.

The per-athlete premium will jump a quarter in the new deal — the previous deal was $3.50 per athlete — and it began to become a drain on the UHSAA endowment fund. According to Cuff, between the UHSAA budget and the UHSAA foundation for endowment games, the total subsidized will be at least $130,00, which is the current cost of the policy.

The new deal and new premiums and deductibles come on the heels of two catastrophic injuries in the last two years in which Wasatch High School wrestler Dale Lawrence was paralyzed in a wrestling practice in January 2011, while South Summit High School football player Porter Hancock was left paralyzed after a making a tackle on a special teams play in October 2011.

"We know the bottom-line is the premiums have been raised because of the amount of recent claims," Cuff said to the board.

• Chris Kamrani

ckamrani@sltrib.com

Twitter: @chriskamrani