Saturday, November 16, 2013

GolfaCare Insurance Program Launched

Impressed with the subsidized insurance model used in the rollout of President Obama’s signature health care legislation, the Golf Tournament Association of America (GTAA) announced a new event insurance program for the links, named GolfaCare.  GTAA President Phil Immordino reached  out to the tournament community during the program pre-launch session held at El Dorado CountryClub in McKinney, Texas.  Mr. Immordino said, 
Whether we are talking about charity events, stroke or match play amateur tournaments, nonprofit fundraisers, celebrity scrambles, pro-ams, corporate outings or fraternal and benevolent association matches, there is a pressing need for standards and security across the sponsors, vendors and participants in these various events. 
GTAA -- sponsor and administrator of golf insurance reform.
Henceforth, all golf events will be required to buy hole in one insurance or pay a fine to the Association. Hole in one insurance will be available on equal terms without discrimination to everyone in the golfing industry.  Currently, 43 percent or more of golf events are put on without the benefit of hole-in-one insurance. 
We need to address pressing inequities in the golfing industry.  The Obamacare rollout confirms that insurance reform is the optimal vehicle for raising revenue, promoting golf security and achieving fairness.  
The National Hole In One Association website defines hole in one insurance as follows, 
National Hole in One Association’s insurance coverage packages function like a prize and event safety net to protect your initial investment of the event you are planning. With our Prize Insurance packages, we secure your contest prize with prize indemnity insurance. By doing so we take on the financial risks associated with offering a highly valuable grand prize. Under this policy, when an event goer makes a hole in one, we pay the cost of the prize. 
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Immordino said impetus for the hole in one insurance reform plan was precipitated by recent news reports of uninsured sponsors and golfers left uncompensated by underfunded, fly-by-night insurance operators. Golfers everywhere will benefit from broadening the insurance pools and raising standards, he said. He insists required insurance drives the cost of hole-in-one insurance down, whether you need it or not.

Recent published reports refer to a Missoula, Montana golfer who was denied for his ace. 
Man unpaid after acing hole-in-one 
Updated: May 15, 2012, 6:29 PM ET
Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. -- Troy Peissig's surprise at acing an $18,000 hole-in-one contest at a charity tournament has been replaced by bitter disappointment now that he hasn't been paid a dime nearly two years after making the 170-yard shot.
Now state authorities are intervening, and issued an arrest warrant last week against the operator of an insurance company they say failed to pay up on a policy purchased by the Missoula tournament.Peissig, a scratch golfer, said it is a case of "how a good situation can go bad quickly."
In a letter [insurance operator] Kolenda sent to the tournament sponsor denying the claim, he claimed the hole was too short and violated the 165-yard minimum in the policy contract. Kolenda referenced the 130-yard length noted on the Missoula Country Club's standard score card.
Missoula Country Club, site
of the uncompensated hole in one.
But state investigators and local police determined the Missoula Country Club had indeed lengthened the hole for the tournament. Investigators said Kolenda ignored the witness statements and evidence provided by the tournament host.
Peissig previously had hit three hole-in-ones prior to stepping to the tee box on the 12th hole at the Missoula Country Club in August 2010. He had even nailed one on that exact hole. The 30-year-old former golf teacher said there were "some ace rumblings" in his group before he hit the 7-iron shot -- which landed a couple feet in front of the hole, checked up and rolled in. "When I made that ace, I was stoked. I was pumped. That was really cool to have that happen," Peissig said. "Then it all went south."
The company failed to call the impartial judges to the shot for months, and then misrepresented their statements, Peissig said.
The new father said the company even called him in early 2011 to say the money was on the way, only to send a rejection letter several months later. "The money would be fantastic. My wife and I, we are a young family," said Peissig, who isn't counting on getting the money at this point. "At the same time, if there was a way for this hole-in-one company to not do this again to someone else, that would be just awesome."
Three years after the ace, Kolenda pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and only partially compensated the successful golfer.

GTAA's Immordino says the hole in one insurance industry is too fragmented, too confusing and too inconsistent in its application of standards. Some states press claims; others do not. He highlighted Fox5's report on an Atlanta golfer who was denied by insurance contract fine print and has received no satisfaction.
ATLANTA - You don't have to know a lot about golf to know that hitting a hole in one is a big deal. It's every weekend hacker's dream. Top that off with a big prize like a luxury car, and you are having one heck of a great day. The I-Team's Dana Fowle says a local man had that kind of day, but it was day two when the hangover set it.
Jesse Speltz was playing in the TMA Turnaround Golf Tournament. It was a networking opportunity to make some business contacts. During the tournament, Speltz hit a hole in one. And by doing that, he won a fancy car.  However, claiming that prize seems to be harder than hitting the hole in one. Speltz beat the 1 in 12,000 odds of making a hole in one. 
Turnaround Management Association, a collection of bankers, accountants and lawyers who sponsored the tournament, congratulated him. Magnolia Golf Group, who managed the outing, posted this on Twitter: "Congratulations to Jesse Speltz for the #HoleInOne at the @TMA Turnaround Golf Tournament 2012."
Event sponsor
But if getting a hole in one wasn't great enough, the prize was fantastic. It was a luxury car worth more than $42,000, and it couldn't come at a better time for Speltz.
"Two weeks before, yeah, my car died a slow death," said Speltz.
Twenty-four hours later, Speltz's hole in one turned into a bogey.
It was bad news. Tournament management had purchased an insurance policy to cover the rare chance of a hole in one. The insurance company denied the hole in one claim.  There would be no new luxury car sitting in Speltz's driveway. 
"I was very surprised. They said they required two witnesses on the hole versus one that they had on the course that day," said Speltz.
In Albuquerque New Mexico distance was the problem and a bar to insurance recovery.
Santa Fe New Mexican reports on a guy who hit a hole-in-one to win an SUV. But not so fast:
… After Robert Gabaldon of Albuquerque sunk his ball with a single stroke, Hole in One International denied the claim because it measured the distance from the tee to the No. 8 hole at 179 yards — while tournament officials had insured it at more than 190 yards.
These sorts of contests (half-court shots for $1 million, kick a field goal for a trip around the world, etc.) are often insured. It’s fairly simple. The insurer underwrites a bunch of these contests and absorbs the risk of the exceptional event.
Now insurance is a contract, not a feel-good proposition. Claims that don’t fall under the contract should be denied. But we’re talking about 30 feet here. I don’t think the shorter distance made the hole that much easier. It’s not like going from Pebble Beach to Putt-Putt.
Insurance operators reportedly have canceled policies after prizes were awarded in consecutive years, or an insurer discovered that a par-3 prize hole has grading that funnels balls into the hole. Under the GTAA plan, hole difficulty and prior performance will no longer be a factor in deciding whether to offer insurance. Sub-par policies will be eliminated after a one-year phase in period.

Uniform affordable hole-in-one insurance will permit muncipal courses with short and simple par three holes to participate in the hole-in-one award market on the same terms as high brow country club courses that have long and difficult par three holes. In actuarial speak, a community hole rating system will be employed. Distance minimums will be eliminated, distant-graduated premiums will be prohibited and discriminatory surcharges for events allowing participants to purchase mulligans will be forbidden.

A key feature of the program is a ratable percentage fee will be assessed on top of all equipment and supply sales in golf course pro shops, as well as for club house meals, food and beverages service, and special event rental income (e.g., Kiwana Club luncheons and wedding receptions). Fee proceeds, along with hole in one insurance fines, will feed into the Golf Course Community Support Action Fund, for distribution to golfers in need who will apply the subsidy to dues and assessments at failing country clubs that participate in the hole in one insurance program. Golfers and challenged country clubs will compete for funding on the GolfaCare website under construction by contract awarded to CGI Federal in Herndon, Viriginia.

In an Along the Gradyent exclusive, sources inside the White House have revealed the President is seriously considering post-presidency employment options GTAA. Individuals close to the President say working for GTAA would allow President Obama to combine the two loves of his life -- golf and imposing an incomprehensible, expensive and capricious insurance plan on an unsuspecting population.

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