In Affiliation

May 01, 2009

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Current insurance policies may leave affiliates and trainers vulnerable to devastating lawsuits. The CrossFit RRG is insurance by CrossFitters for CrossFitters. The RRG offers protection for the whole community.

It turns out light thrusters, burpees and air squats can cost you more than a little sweat. They can cost you $300,000. And maybe the whole business you worked so hard to build. Your gym could end up empty.

On Dec. 11, 2005, Makimba Mimms participated in a CrossFit workout at Manassas World Gym/Ruthless Training Concepts in Manassas, Virginia. The workout consisted of fifteen-, ten- and five-rep rounds of a triplet including ten-pound dumbbell thrusters, burpees and air squats.

In the summer of 2008, Mimms filed a lawsuit against the gym, the training company and trainer Javier Lopez. He claimed he suffered permanent injuries from the workout, including rhabdomyolysis, which occurs when bits of muscle fiber enter the bloodstream and damage the kidneys.

In October of 2008 a jury found all three defendants liable and awarded Mimms $300,000. CrossFit Inc. was not named as a defendant in the Mimms case but is nevertheless responding to the verdict.

CrossFit’s risk-retention group was announced on on Apr. 15, 2009, giving affiliates and trainers until May 15 to contribute the $500,000 required to legally establish the RRG under American law. Trainers can buy into the program at a cost of $200, and affiliates at $1,000. As of Friday, May 1, 2009, the RRG has amassed $158,800 of the $500,000 required. If capitalization needs are met, the RRG will be owned by its members. Its only mission: ensuring CrossFit trainers and affiliates have coverage that fully protects them.

The RRG will select its own lawyers and ensure they always have a seat at the table. These lawyers will be CrossFit experts who vigorously defend claims. The RRG legal team will also do everything possible to prevent damage to the reputation of CrossFit as a whole. The aim is for CrossFit trainers and affiliates to become masters of their own legal destiny, no longer dependent on anyone else.

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24 Comments on “No Risk Retention Group, No Reward”


wrote …

Well if they wouldn't charge a fortune to be trainers or become a member of there gym it would lead to more clients and then more money which would have more revenue for this insurance. Most of us go to a regular gym and do our WOD's. "$150 a month". Ha, get sued and I will still workout at the free mil areas......


Matt Charney wrote …

I can't believe that is all the funding received so far. I will be attending my lvl 1 in June so I can't buy in yet. I would if I could.

Come on everyone this makes perfect sense!

Semper Fi


replied to comment from Andrew Murphy

gee's what do you want, they do need to eat and replace equipment, pay rent etc....
With your logic they would ned to have 2 or 3 times their current equipment and floor space, so they could charge less to get more people in, which in turn probably would need them to charge the same anyway due to higher rent and more use of their equipment...
Unless your form is 100% your kidding yourself especially when it comes down to fault correction.

such a dumb ass.....


replied to comment from Graeme Marshall

Hey Marshall, I am the dumb ass? How about you keep paying your inflated fees or money every month and I will work out with buddies (which all of us has certs) at the free gyms and we work on our "FORM" and at the end of the day tell me who the dumb ass is..


wrote …

Andrew has a point, Crossfit has to have amassed a large amount of money via the costs of certifications, affiliation fees, etc. It's surprising to see that the responsibility of funding is falling completely on the affiliates with no apparent help from the head of the franchise. Anyways, this wouldn't even be so necessary if there was a little more regulation of who gets certified instead of allowing everyone and their grandmother to come out for a weekend and call it good. Stop giving people rhabdo, train responsibly. Not a difficult concept.


wrote …

You all seem to be looking at this situation in very myopic terms.

Andrew, your fitness experience and justification for not belonging to an affiliate and not buying into the RRG are justified. The RRG isn't meant for people in your situation. However it simply doesn't make sense for crossfit trainers who actually train. For them the risk of not belonging to the RRG is very real. You really aren't in any position to pass judgement on others value system by calling the fees inflated. Crossfit is valuable not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively. The viral success of crossfit speaks for itself to the value it adds to peoples lives.

Graeme,You bring up excellent points. but it's not polite to call people names.

Adam, Also a good point. however, litigation is likely to come to HQ by way of affiliate. Regardless everyone needs to be protected in order to maintain the excellent knowledge based fitness centers that have been created.


replied to comment from Alex Thomson

Oh yeah I forgot

God bless the troops


wrote …

I wonder if I could hire that lawyer to file a case against the U.S. government for pushing the high carb, low fat diet pyramid that has given members of my family type II diabetes?


Ross Blake wrote …

Andrew.. It's abudently clear to me that not every clown works at the circus. Pull your head in and let passionate, hard working people protect their crossfit community.

Any word on this being available internationally?



replied to comment from Ross Blake

Hey Ross, I guess your one more guy calling people name. "clown" ha, you say the "passionate, hard working" saying that I am not. You have no clue what I do for hard working. Let me give you a hint, it is military and it has been 18 years and counting. Hard work, blah!!!!!!! Look around at some of the Crossfit gyms they are in a corner of the gym surrounded by the rest of the "normal gear" and the only reason it is in there is to try to keep up with the Jones's. They dont care. and still charge $150.00. Not lets get to the crossfit community comment. Once again you are talking about me like you know me..Once again your wrong, dude I talk proudly about crossfit and coach everyday but I wont be like most and run around and do it in my little gym and then go get in my suit, get behind my desk and say how good I am.


wrote …

Please stop butchering the English language. It's impolite. I'm curious to know your exposure to the community. I've been to 3 affiliates and have been impressed by all of them. I train on my own, but many people do not have the athletic experience or encouraging fitness culture you apparently possess, Andrew, to maximize their fitness without a trainer, and are willing to pay for it. Why mock those people?

I can understand the risks for affiliate owners (I'm not one, so can't speak for it), but if the RRG does or doesn't go through, it will be for the same reasons as everything that pushes CrossFit- risk vs. expenditure. If it's more expensive to the end user than a standard plan and they don't see the odds of being sued as significant, they won't buy in. Were I an affiliate, I'd probably do it, but that's just me.


wrote …

Seems like Andrew is just here to argue with people.


wrote …

I am curious about Adam's point and I am not an affiliate but do hope to be one, one day.

But what exactly is crossfit now? Is it a business and a BIG one at that? Or what? Is it an "open-source" fitness model?

Has the description and program changed with the success and growth of crossfit? I can only imagine the revenues being brought in on certs alone.


wrote …

To you Noah and Chistian keep paying the money! I will do the WODS and be happy in my free garage and military gym's and train with certified trainers "for free" because we do it for our job. The only money I will give is for the cool t-shirts on the sight! God bless you yuppies to support our fix of crossfit!!!!


replied to comment from Andrew Murphy

Andrew, I have no interest in the RRG. I am in Canada and won't/can't access such a resource.

I also train in a garage gym and not an affiliate.

I am just curious about your goals and intentions of arguing with everyone who responds to this article. Seems like you have way too much time on your hands.


wrote …

It appears that the comments posted on this article show a perfect snapshot of WHY the RRG isn't funded yet.

My husband is military, we both have level 1 certs and we often train at the local base, yet we choose to also train at and support our local affiliate. Why? Because they have more CrossFit friendly equipment, the third pair of eyes is good for our training and the owner gives us a military discount. We invested in in RRG on day 1.

I honestly believe that community is the heart and soul of CrossFit. From what I understand, the reason HQ doesn't just fork over the $$ for RRG is because they want the affiliates to be in control and have a share/stake in the company that is protecting them (this also means a voice).

In my two years around CrossFit, I have gathered that Coach and Lauren are passionate about getting the word out to as many people as possible about the benefits of CrossFit. That's why everything on the main page is free, the journal is only a small $25, equipment is donated to Marines, military/ LEO gets discounts on certs.

The RRG is being put together to make sure that we can ALL continue to CrossFit, and lead others in CrossFit workouts, and for those that earn their livelihood from it, protect their business for years to come.

If the RRG doesn't apply to you, that is fine. But if you are a trainer at any level and choose not to invest in it, you are shooting yourself in the foot. When I hear people question the motives of HQ with all of this, I am shocked. They have the best interests of the affiliates at heart, and they are just as passionate about CrossFit as you and me.

Thanks for posting the article and I hope the RRG can come up with the money it needs. I appreciate the Glassman's for being proactive about this and making sure the something is in place before an affiliate gets sued.

Closing thought: We all have auto insurance even though we are all "pretty good drivers." Every affiliate could do everything right, but it will take one person (and it's america so it will happen) to go to a workout get sore and file a lawsuit against CrossFit. A system will be in place to give honest testimony about CrossFit methods, scientific information about rhabdo and a solid defense to the affiliate. The RRG is not a license for affiliates to be reckless, is protection against a frivolous lawsuit.


wrote …

Thank you, Johanna. You said it even better than I could have.


wrote …

Wow, lots of negativism out there. If you're an affiliate, sign up for the RRG. It really is a no-brainer.


wrote …

Andrew has a point. The very nature of CrossFit as a DIY, world class fitness in your garage kind of thing can preclude the need to go to an affiliate.

What doesn't make sense is the lack of affiliate participation. I tried to look at the numbers to see what the requirement would be for an affiliate to join. Didn't see them. It also seems a former affiliate I used to go to that shall remain unidentified has undergone a re-branding/name change; I can't think of any other reason than avoiding the affiliate fees. It was a cool place to workout and I always got my ass kicked, but that happens everytime I follow the main page as well.

The point is this - if affiliates (or former affiliates) don't feel the need to fly the CF flag, why would they want to participate in the RRG? I feel allegiance to the CF movement, hope to one day own my own affiliate, and would participate. But it seems that not all affiliates share this allegiance.


wrote …

Each affiliate owner his required to buy insurance before opening. Doesn't this cover what the RRG is offering ?


wrote …

Why the May 15th deadline?


Philip Mancini wrote …

It's important to research the viability of this RRG before everybody jumps on the bandwagon to sing its praises.

1. The idea of the RRG is a good one but there's been no evidence that CrossFit is in the cross hairs of every personal injury lawyer in the country. The fear based marketing plan never persuades anyone. Join this group or you will be sued and put out of business!!! Come on guys.

2. Several advocates seem to feel that taking every claim (how many there would be is questionable at best) to court is in the best interests of the owners of the RRG. Do you realize how much it costs to take cases to trial? The reason insurance companies settle lawsuits should give you an idea. If the RRG's modus operandi is to fight every claim, our premiums will skyrocket unless the lawyers we're hiring are working pro bono. I don't expect that, nor would I want that. There's also the possibility of legitimate claims against affiliate owners. CrossFit has done a commendable job in raising the quality of instruction but given the number of people who continue to become level 1 certified, keeping up with the growth will be extremely difficult. This provides greater risk for the RRG owners.

3. Essentially, establishing an insurance company should start with an informed group of individuals who are prepared to educate the prospective owners of the benefits of the company. This would include presentations, business plans, documentation, investment strategies, etc. I would imagine that those issues have been discussed but we've (CFG) have inquired about those things and haven't been given a clear response. I'm not accusing anyone of being dismissive or evasive, just providing our own experience.

I may be coming off as the constant naysayer and that's not my intent. But I always hesitate when someone tells me what a great idea this is and then is unable to provide any concrete evidence.


wrote …

Having been a business owner in the past and owning a company for which I paid 1 million dollar liabilty premiums for over a decade, then found that the insurance company can just say- "oh that ? We don't cover that. Sorry" I have a great enthusiasm for the opportunity to be involved in a more sane option.
Defense of frivolous, even eggregiously wrong law suits have lined the pockets of many, but certainly not those who are being sued.
The concept of an RRG has been used successfully by other organizations and professions interested in protecting themselves. I applaud CFHQ for taking the time and energy to find the most effective and viable solution for us all.


Matthew Everhart wrote …

Wow...I'm a little shocked to just now hear about this. Isn't there an email list of all Crossfit Certs out there where we could have seen this before...oh...say...May 16th?

Why the deadline? I am all about this for sure! If nothing else, it's protection that is specifically oriented towards Crossfit. Typical gym insurance doesn't come close and I've felt vulnerable for a long time...even just doing group boot camp like we do; that doesn't even begin to cover Crossfit training!!

Andrew - Why are you trolling the boards? If you don't want to do it, don't. If you don't want to join an affiliate.....DON'T. No one is passing judgement on your decision to workout in the gym or in your garage. That's the whole point of Crossfit.

The reason trainers charge $10 and $15 per workout or $150 per month for unlimited access is because it's hands-on training! It's payment for their time. You do understand that Personal Trainers charge in excess fo $40 or $50 PER HOUR, right? Now, how many personal training sessions would you have to go to in a MONTH to exceed $150?

That's not a "gym membership" that just gives you access to the facility. It's training with a (presumably) certified Crossfit coach.

Thank you for your services (I'm on year 12 myself). Keep on keeping on.


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