Protecting Teams at the Top

Sports Just One Specialty of Insurance Office of America (IOA)

While we watch our favorite teams on television or attend professional sporting events, we often don’t realize the business that’s exchanged or the risk that occurs behind the scenes. Who covers teams when someone gets hurt? And how does a team stay protected in the media?

Insurance Office of America (IOA) was founded in 1988 by John Ritenour in Orlando. As the largest privately-held insurance agency in Florida and one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, IOA has excelled from $188,000 to $120 million in revenue during the last 25 years, with 38 locations nationwide and growing. The company offers property and casualty insurance, group benefits and 401k, personal insurance, payroll services, print and promotion, and website design and SEO.


Storytelling through Sports

In its beginning, IOA was a large and unknown agency, and it needed partners to help tell its story nationwide. The company knew that sports teams have a dynamic platform to speak from when sharing experiences of doing business with IOA, so in 2001, the company partnered with the Orlando Magic. Thirteen years later, they continue to have a growing partnership and it has created a model that fits many other teams as well.

“I love sports and never dreamed of the opportunity of doing business with teams in the NFL, NBA, and NHL,” said Ritenour, co-founder and chairman. Today, IOA works with over 50 professional sports teams – including the Orlando Magic, LPGA, Atlanta Hawks, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Charlotte Bobcats, Jacksonville Jaguars, and more – creating best-in-class insurance coverage programs.

“Sports underwriting is a specialty category in the insurance business. There are very unique exposures in sports with stadiums/arenas, professional athletes and the crowds,” said Ritenour. “With our portfolio of teams we have great data, numbers and relationships with carriers to build custom packages for teams.”


Focusing on Team Needs

Depending on the type of organization or team, insurance needs can vary greatly. Some teams are low-tech and only need the coverage you may normally think of such as general liability, property, work compensation and auto. However, other teams are much more complex and require coverage ranging from multimedia liability to medical director’s professional liability coverage, to corporate counsel professional liability coverage.

Although there are many commonalities between all teams, each is still a unique entity with its own set of concerns and risks. Much of the evaluation process for liability coverage involves detailed discussions of the team’s operations and a review of the contractual obligations and insurance coverage of the various parties involved with the team. IOA reviews the contracts to ensure that the necessary contractual risk transfer mechanics have been included, and to also confirm that the insurance provided by the vendor matches up with the obligations they agreed to in the contract.

“It is imperative that we maintain great relationships with all of the carriers and know their individual program strengths and weaknesses so that we can make sure we get the best program for our clients,” said Jim Gauss, IOA account executive.

In sports and beyond, IOA was founded on the principle of “taking the greed out of business.” In its 26th year, the company continues to lead by serving the community and investing in its people, solutions and experience for its clients. Visit IOAUSA.com for more information.


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