The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in Robert Kuchefski (2)


In Memoriam: Robert J. Kuchefski

An insurance sales executive who served the fitness industry for 35 years

The fitness industry has lost a friend and trusted colleague, a person who was highly regarded for his personal warmth, expertise, support, and decades of service.

Robert J. Kuchefski, a sales executive for Hoffman Insurance Services, in Wellesley, MA, a firm that has long and deep industry ties, died unexpectedly on May 26. 

Continue reading "In Memoriam: Robert J. Kuchefski."

Click to read more ...


How to Respond When Your Club is Affected By A Natural Disaster

Richard Beddie, Robert Kuchefski and Rich Synnott discuss how to deal with a natural disaster in this week's Best Practices.

Q: "With natural disasters occurring around the world in Japan, New Zealand and, most recently, the American South, what steps should a health club that's been affected by such a disaster take to begin the recovery process?"

A: Responding to a national disaster is all about prioritization. The extent of the damage to both the club and the regions infrastructure will determine what these priorities are. You may have to go through a simple clean up or find new premises.

One thing that should be at the top of the list in all circumstances is staff. Make sure that they feel safe and their home life is as secure as possible. Not only will every staff member's situation be different (some may be relatively unaffected, others may have lost their homes, or loved ones), but how they react to this will vary considerably. We all know how home life issues can distract people at work, and a natural disaster is an extreme case of this. Until people feel safe in their home life, their ability to constructively add value to any recovery process of a club is hindered, and the workplace may be one of the few places where any scene of normality takes place for some months.

Another important consideration is preparing for an insurance claim. Before starting any remedial work, photos should be taken and as much evidence recorded to support any insurance claim. For business more significantly affected, a loss of business, or business interruption claim may also need to be prepared, and this will often require substantial financial calculations to be made before a claim can be. Of course this assumes that the club has the correct type and level insurance - and it is a timely reminder to all to ensure that the club is insured for not only the likely, but the unlikely, and potentially catastrophic events. (After all until 2010 everyone knew that Christchurch was not on a fault line, and did not have large earthquakes. Oh how wrong we all were!)

Most clubs insure physical assets well, but many do not fully insure business interruption and more significantly, depopulation insurance (the terms used in different countries may vary - but any insurance broker should know these terms) - and unfortunately it's too late once the disaster strikes.

Richard Beddie, Chief Executive
Fitness New Zealand

A: From an insurance standpoint, be sure your facility is covered for disasters, before they strike.

If your club is in a flood zone, you will need to secure flood insurance. If your club is not in a flood zone you still have the ability to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). If your club is in an earthquake zone, you will want earthquake coverage. For wind damage caused by storms or tornadoes, ensure that your existing property and casualty insurance provides wind and hail coverage.

Property insurance covers building repair or replacement when damage is caused by the stated covered causes of loss. If your building is badly damaged or destroyed, it can take months to get running again. So be sure to secure business interruption insurance to pay your ongoing expenses while you get your business back on track.

Another disaster planning coverage is contingent business income coverage. This covers you for business income loss caused by the inability of a service you depend on to provide such service, such as a local power or water supply company.

Be sure that all your insurance is with an A+ rated company with the resources to actually pay your claim. There have been instances where lower-rated companies have been so burdened by claims that their ability to pay claims is jeopardized. This is not the case with an A+ rated company. It has the resources necessary to pay all claims.

Robert Kuchefski 
Hoffman Insurance Services

A: The best way to emerge from a disaster is to prepare ahead of time. All membership and accounting data should be backed up at an off-site, secure location; you should have an up-to-date list of all your FFE items, especially fitness equipment (photos or videos are helpful); have an email data-base for your entire membership; assure adequate insurance to cover loss of income while you are rebuilding; have a Facebook Fans page, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. After a disaster, communication with your staff, members and the community is critical. Use email, phone chains, your social networking and local media to frequently update your plans.

Richard Synnott, Executive Director
Weymouth Club


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.