AHLA Offers Master Program for Guides and Outfitters
In 2010 the American Hunting Lease Association came to the rescue of hunters, hunt clubs and landowners across the US. As the future of hunting in America began a steady and rapid decline, the AHLA made its mission to make hunting access possible and affordable for everyone.
The AHLA introduced their affordable master liability insurance policy that protected everyone involved in a hunting lease. A few short years later, the AHLA has provided insurance to over 10,000 hunt clubs and millions of acres of hunting land in nearly every state.
Sadly, those that work harder than anyone else to take Americans hunting and fishing are still affected by high insurance costs. The guides and outfitters of this country never stop working, never stop scouting and never stop thinking about how to make their clients successful. Frankly, they deserve a break and the AHLA has created a new liability program that does exactly that.
“We have had a vision for a guides and outfitters program for several years and we are proud to announce it is now a reality,” explains Sean Ferbrache, Chief Operating Officer for the AHLA. “Liability insurance has just become far too costly and in many cases makes the business of guiding hunters nearly impossible to be profitable,” he added.
The AHLA’s Guides and Outfitters Master Program offers qualifying guides and outfitters reduced rates for liability insurance while maintaining the comprehensive coverages they need.
Not all Guides/Outfitters are Created Equal
Until now the insurance industry has viewed professional guides and outfitters through the same lens. Larger operations offer more amenities and have vastly different insurance needs than guides that offer a much smaller menu of services. However, when it comes to liability protection the insurance industry views them all as a similar, if not equal risk. Pricing is based on estimated gross receipts with little regard for operations or stated activities. The AHLA recognized this as a significant opportunity to make a difference for guides and outfitters.
“Depending on their activities and operational practices, some guides and outfitters represent a reduced or “good” risk for insurance companies” said Ferbrache. “We were able to convince our insurance carrier that there was an entire industry of guides and outfitters that meet their clients in the morning and say goodbye in the evening. They take their guests fly fishing, they hunt everything from deer and coyotes to pheasants and prairie dogs, or in some instances, they just take their clients on a nice long hike.”
The AHLA program uses a simple set of 9 requirements that must be agreed to prior to purchasing liability coverage. For instance, a guide that uses elevated tree stands must agree to require his guests use a safety harness; or an outfitter must agree that guests will wear helmets anytime they are riding on ATVs. If a professional guide can agree to each of the requirements (none are overly restrictive), they qualify for the program and will be able to purchase liability insurance at a reduced rate.
How Does it Work
The AHLA Guides and Outfitters Master Program uses a master policy, exactly like their hunting lease insurance program. Unlike expensive custom policies, the AHLA master policy has a start date of July 1, 2018, and runs for one full year. So, an outfitter that purchases coverage will have coverage through July 1, 2019, and can then renew for another year. The important factor is that full coverage is in place for the period of activity (hunting season).
Guides and Outfitters looking for liability coverage will be impressed with the purchase process as well. Gone are the days of downloading or printing a 7-page application, completing and mailing it to the insurance agency and waiting weeks to hear how much you owe! When the AHLA set out to create their program, they did so with affordable rates at the top of their list but making the purchase process quick and easy was a close second.
Anyone interested in the AHLA program can get an instant quote on the organization's website and can then purchase coverage in less than 10 minutes. (Coverage starts the day after payment is made)
“The idea to bring our low rates, online purchase process and next day coverage to the Guides and Outfitters industry in a master policy package is a big win for everyone involved,” said Ferbrache. “Let’s be honest, any time a business has to pay exorbitant fees for insurance, that cost will be passed on to the customer. In this case, that means higher costs to hunters and at this time in our sport’s history, we simply cannot make it more difficult to hunt. We believe reducing operating costs for guides and outfitters directly correlates to more hunters in the fall and that is a win-win-win.”