Insurance Information for the NISOA Member

Published on February 16, 2017


Revised: August 27, 2019

A major benefit of membership in NISOA is that each registered, dues paying member is provided a personal general liability insurance coverage.   If any official, assessor, assignor or instructor is an LLC, this policy will not respond to protect the business.   This is strictly a personal liability policy that protects the official, assessor, assignor or instructor.  The following will explain who is covered, outline the protection provided and inform how to file a claim should the need occur.

Who is covered?

All intercollegiate soccer officials and interscholastic officials, assessors, assignors and instructors who are registered members of NISOA are covered.
In addition, the NISOA Assignors have a separate Professional Liability policy that is different from the General Liability coverage.    The professional liability policy is for errors and omissions to protect the assignor when a claim is made regarding how assignments are made or problems with assignments.

What activities are covered?

A liability insurance policy must clearly express the insurers intention to cover liability claims.   The insurer will pay those sums that an insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of Bodily Injury or Property Damage to which this policy applies.   The insurer will have the right and duty to defend any lawsuit seeking those damages.
The NISOA policy covers the activities administered by the Association and/or its members while performing his/her duties as a soccer Official, Assignor or Assessor in an organized league, which includes practice and games, and also in their related capacity in clinics and camps run by or at the request of The National Association.

What are the Limits of General Liability?

General Aggregate Liability $ 5,000,000
General Liability $ 2,000,000
Participant Legal Liability $ 2,000,000
Products/Comp. Ops. Agg. Limit $ 2,000,000
Personal & Advertising Injury $ 2,000,000
Fire Legal Liability $ 300,000
Medical Payments to Spectators $ 5,000
Deductible $ -0-

This coverage is excess over any other type of liability insurance an official has in place on his/her own.   Coverage is Per Occurrence basis and is underwritten by National Casualty Insurance Company, an A.M. Best “A+” rated carrier.   Coverage term is on an annual basis.

The professional liability/errors & omissions limits for the Assignors are as follows:

Each Claim $ 1,000,000
Annual Aggregate $ 2,000,000
Deductible $        2,500

How do I file a claim?

In the unfortunate event that a NISOA member is involved in a lawsuit or a legal claim is made against him/her, while he/she is officiating or acting on behalf of the Association, a notification must be made to the insurance representative immediately.    All documents and relative information should be forwarded to:
Sandy McDowell
Relation Insurance Services
9225 Indian Creek Parkway,  Ste. 700
Overland Park, KS    66210
913-754-5605 direct line


Question: One question consistently is asked and the carriers position is officially documented.   Three officials are assigned to a game and 2 of the referees are NISOA members and the 3rd one is not, does coverage apply in case of a lawsuit?

Answer: If all three officials are named in the suit, only the 2 NISOA officials will be covered under this coverage. The 3rd official will not as he/she is not a member of NISOA.

Question: Officials are assigned to a game consisting of a college team vs an MLS team. If lawsuit ensues, are the referees covered under our policy?

Answer:   The carriers position is if assigned to the game by NISOA assignor, then yes, coverage would apply. However, if the assignor is not a NISOA member, then this would not be considered to be within the scope of coverage. The key wording is the covered activities are only those administered by the Association or its members. The carrier does not delineate between the different levels of competitors.

Question: If an official is officiating a conference game and is wearing the conference badge, are they covered by NISOA’s insurance.

Answer: If that official is a member of NISOA and a member in good standing, that official will be covered under our policy.

Question: Our chapter needs to provide proof of insurance. How do we get it?

Answer: Contact Sandy McDowell at 913-754-5605.

Question: I am a NASO member. They provide insurance which is equivalent to NISOA’s insurance, right?

Answer:  You should know the advantages NISOA insurance provides in comparison to NASO coverage;

  1. Individual coverage: While both policies have identical general liability limits for each occurrence (or claim) at $1 Million; NISOA’s insurance has a $5 Million limit when it comes to General Aggregate Limit; whereas NASO has a General Aggregate Limit of $5 Million.

Simple terms: Once the multiple claims (no more than $1 Million per claim) hit a total of $5 Million for NASO, the official will need to come out of pocket for the additional amount. Remember, NASO insures officials of all sports and all levels. Are you willing to risk not being fully covered because of claims placed by football or lacrosse officials? NISOA has a $5 Million aggregate limit focused only on NISOA related events so no matter the total dollar amount of the multiple claims (No more than $1Million per claim), our insurance plan will cover that amount. This is an extremely rare coverage in the current liability insurance marketplace.

  1. Assignor Insurance: NISOA insurance for assignor liability coverage is far superior than NASO.  NISOA has a $1 Million coverage for each claim with an aggregate of $5 Million.   NASO has a $50K annual aggregate per official for the assignor.

Simple terms: If a claim is filed against an official and the assignor is included in the claim (which is highly likely since it’s common to include all parties involved with an official), Under NASO insurance, once that amount reaches $50K per official, the Assignor will be required to pay out of pocket for the remainder of the expenses. Under the NISOA insurance, the assignor is covered for up to $1 Million for each claim and up to $5 Million total before they have to pay out of pocket.

Unless the liability claims are under $50K each (Which is HIGHLY UNLIKELY); then our assignor liability insurance is FAR SUPERIOR when compared NASO coverage because we offer $1Million per claim up to $5 Million cap. When medical bills and lawyers are involved, expenses will easily surpass $50K per claim.

What does General Aggregate mean?

Answer:  Under the Limits of General Liability, General Aggregate Liability states $5 Million.   The General Aggregate Limit – The maximum amount the insurer will pay during the policy period for all damages including bodily injury, property damage, personal and advertising injury.  Each incident/lawsuit will pay $1,000,000 and we could have 4, 6 or 8 awards for a million each. Under the Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions, there is a cap of $1,000,000. Meaning if there are 2 lawsuits and each is awarded $500,000 or less, all is well, but it is conceivable for a single claim to exceed the million aggregate limit in today’s society.

Disclaimer:  This explanation is not a policy and does not contain all of the terms, conditions, provisions and exclusions that are common within insurance contracts of this nature.   The policy is the contract and this does not provide any warranties as expressed or implied.

15 Responses to “Insurance Information for the NISOA Member”

  1. You have indicated that coverage is in force for “dues paying members”. I am an assessor and a Life Member and as such pay no dues. Am I covered when I assess a game?

    • Hi Don:

      I apologize for the delay in responding. Per your question, you are covered as an assessor under the NISOA policy. Although you pay no dues, as long as the Association states you are a member in good standing, you are covered.

      If you have any other questions or if I can assist further, please let me know.

      Thank you.

  2. From Todd:

    I was talking to some folks and the question that needs clarification is whether an official who is wearing a conference badge (ACC / PAC-12, etc.) is covered by our policy – I assume they are … It is important as some of the assignors are touting their insurance policy. Assignors may be implying that one need to pay the assignor’s fees to be covered for their conference games.

    From Janice Briggs, Insurance Expert:

    If an official is officiating a conference game and is wearing the conference badge, as long as that official is a member of NISOA and a member in good standing, that official will be covered under our policy.

  3. I’d like some additional clarification with regard to jersey choice. An earlier question asked about coverage for referees who wear a badge other than an NISOA badge. The answer was:

    “Answer: If that official is a member of NISOA and a member in good standing, that official will be covered under our policy.”

    That suggests that being a member in good standing (and being assigned to the match by an NISOA assignor) is enough to secure coverage. I assume, then, that the referee crew’s choice of jersey is irrelevant. The crew could, for example, wear a US Soccer jersey, commemorative jersey, or any other jersey without impacting their insurance coverage. Is that correct?

    • If that official is a member of NISOA and a member in good standing, that official will be covered under our policy.”

    • One more comment from Janice “If the official is a member of NISOA, assigned by the NISOA Assignor and is in good standing with NISOA, the NISOA insurance will apply. The crew’s choice of jersey is irrelevant. “

  4. Hello, my knee shifted out of place while I was on a game last week, the trainer there was able to pop it back into place so I could finish up the game but he thinks it’s very likely that I’ve torn something and it is swollen and painful. Would this be covered if I went to go and get an MRI and have it looked at?

    • Hello Kelsey

      I am sorry to hear about your injury. Unfortunately, you are covered for liability insurance, not medical insurance. So if while you are officiating someone falls and sues you, our insurance will be in effect. For medical you need to carry your own. Most folks have it through their employer.

      I wish you a speedy recovery. Thanks so much.


  5. If there is ONLY one referee assigned to a college match ( scrimmage ). Does the single NISOA referee have insurance coverage ?

    • This is according to Janice Briggs, our insurance broker

      ” Yes, if only one referee is assigned to a college match, the referee will be covered under our insurance coverage.”

  6. Are NISOA officials covered by the insurance policy if the assignor is not an NISOA assignor?


    • As long as the referee has paid their membership and is in good standing. They are covered.

  7. I am an NISOA Assignor and about 1/3 of the officials I assign over 5 states are not NISOA officials. What are my liabilities if there is a lawsuit filed against the 3 officials (2 NISOA & 1 Non-NISOA officials ) and the assignor?
    Does it change if 1 official is NISOA and 2 officials are ECSR officials?

    • Hi John – Thanks for reaching out! Your inquiry is with our insurance team. Will circle back once they’ve confirmed answers to your questions.