The NFL’s Latest Headache

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Doug French via The Mises Institute,
Tue, 01/29/2019

The Raiders are coming to Las Vegas and the excitement is palpable. Three-quarters of a billion dollars of taxpayer money used as Raider bait seemingly hasn’t upset anyone. The arrival of the NFL after the Golden Knights’ first NHL season has local real estate salespeople, developers, casino owners and business folk dreaming of cashing in on a local professional sports bonanza.

Pro sports is seen as the next step in Sin City’s evolution. I’m told Raider Stadium construction is on schedule despite a major concrete malfunction. The eventual parking scheme is, shall we say, untested. But, tickets are selling like hotcakes and the town has gone collectively coocoo for the Raiders as it did with the Golden Knights.

What could go wrong?

Insurance? Or, lack of it? Insurers are leaving the football market fearing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is the new asbestos.

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada wrote in a spectacular ‘outside the lines’ piece for ESPN+,

To an increasing number of carriers, football is a dam built atop an earthquake fault. A disaster might never occur, but the specter of huge potential losses is scaring many companies away.

“Thirty years from now, you could be on the hook, and that’s a very difficult situation for an insurance company to be in,” James Lynch, chief actuary for the Insurance Information Institute in New York told Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada. “This is why the industry is concerned about it. You want to be able to box up that risk.”

Having played high school and college football, and now dealing with a variety of neurological issues, the following paragraph resonated with me.

It’s not just CTE. CTE isn’t going to be the expensive part,” said one insurance executive who spoke to Outside the Lines on the condition of anonymity. “Dementia and every case of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are going to be blamed on football. There will be a bevy of doctors in California and other states, and they’re going to say, ‘I’m sure it was because you played football.’”

There was a time when insurers lined up to provide the NFL with General Liability and Workman’s Compensation coverage. Now there is only one carrier writing this business, without an exclusion for head trauma, Berkeley Entertainment & Sports. Not exactly a household name.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘meltdown,’ but there’s a panic in the market,” said insurance consultant Lee Gaby.

The Rest…HERE

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