Water Safety Instructor
Thimble: How would you describe your work?
Kathy Boger: I am a water safety instructor certified by the American Red Cross. I’ve been teaching swimming lessons through the YMCA and other organizations for over 25 years, but this summer is the first time that I’ve really done it on my own. I’ve taught swimming lessons to friends of mine on the side, but now I’ve made my business official and launched several classes and a whole program that I run myself.
T: What drew you to this work initially?
KB: As a kid, I took swimming lessons myself, I was on the swim team, and I eventually became a lifeguard. It was just a way to make extra money at first when I was in college. After I got married and started a family, I went back to teaching swimming lessons as a part-time, seasonal venture.
T: What kind of swimming program did you run this summer?
KB: It’s a Learn-to-Swim program that was created by the American Red Cross, so I use all their different class levels. The lessons are for all ages, from six months up through adults. I offer private and small group lessons, so my classes are generally no bigger than six students.
T: Did you secure insurance coverage before making the decision to run your own classes, or was it the other way around?
KB: I decided to go independent first because I needed to get board approval from the facility at which I wanted to run my classes, and I didn’t want to make a purchase before I’d secured the location. The facility did require me to carry my own insurance coverage, though (as they should!). I thought the neighborhood association’s policy might cover me, but they told me that I’d need to have my own General Liability insurance policy in order to teach swimming lessons at the facility.
T: Have you faced any challenges transitioning from working for established organizations to running your own swimming programs?
KB: Obtaining seasonal liability insurance was actually one of the biggest hurdles. I run my program three months out of the year, and I only teach two mornings a week.
I searched for short-term liability insurance online and looked at a couple of options. Every other insurance carrier, before I found Thimble, required me to purchase a full year of coverage. Some of them described their coverage as “short-term,” but you had to pay for a year — how does that work? If I were paying, say, $300 for an annual policy and only making $1,000 for the season, it didn’t make a lot of sense to do that.
Yet I really felt like I had to be covered given the risks of being in and around the water with novice swimmers. With Thimble, I was able to purchase a truly short-term insurance policy online and it couldn’t have been easier. I’m so grateful to have found a cost-effective option that didn’t require me to pay for a full year when I didn’t need a full year.
Apart from the insurance piece, I have to keep my certification active. Getting the word out about the business in order to attract enough students was another important step in running my own lessons. I was able to work with the neighborhood association for the pool where I teach to promote my classes, and they filled up fast (with a waiting list)!
T: Do you plan to continue teaching next summer?
KB: Yes, the facility has already asked me to come back! Looking forward to another year with my students.
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