Troubled Olympics provides insurance concern

Published: August 10, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The Rio Olympic Games are shaping up to be like no other in recent memory. These are the troubled games for a number of reasons, and experts are warning that there are insurance implications.

While the sporting spectacle of an Olympics event remains as romantic as ever, the Games have been dogged with problems. Brazil’s race to prepare Rio for the event was only won by a nose, and the country is divided over whether the Olympics should be in a nation gripped by third world poverty. The billions spent to acquire and host the Games would have served Brazilians who are, in some cases, struggling to survive.

On top of that, high crime, the threat of terrorism, poor athlete facilities, and the Zika Virus have all made headlines and made the 2016 Rio Olympics the most troubled in decades. Many of these issues have insurance implications, points out Jared Sola, partner at Blank Rome’s policyholder-only insurance coverage practice:

“With this Olympics in particular, with the heightened risk and awareness of potential terror threats and there being some circumstantial or anecdotal evidence of there being less-than-pristine conditions in Rio, it would be wise for anyone with a financial stake in the event happening as scheduled to have insurance,” says Zola.

“Certainly the potential risks appear to be higher, whether they actually happen – everyone is hopeful they won’t – it really is just where the world is, and in the present day, there actually does seem to be greater potential for risks at this Olympics.”

The real insurance questions would be asked if such a problem like terrorism, health issues, or mass crime were to occur. While the organizers work tirelessly to stop these threats, the implications could be profound.

“An interesting question will be if something does happen in terms of the quality of the facilities, or the standards of the venues, whether there was any information known by the IoC that would affect whether they should move forward with the games,” he says.

“If, for example, one of the venues where an event takes place is shut down, and there ends up being damage or potential for bodily injury, or if people end up bringing claims against the IoC for negligence for bringing the games to a place that has such a low standard and conditions – whether or not they have any merit – there could be some interesting insurance questions that arise from this.”