32 - January 2019 Woodall’s Campground Management Immunity Laws —from page 29 Severson explained that the law does give some comfort to owners in her state and that ithelpscampersunderstandthattherearein- herentrisksassociated with camping. “The reaction from campground owners hasbeentremendously positive,”shesaid.“On the insurance side the least number of claims thatyouhavethebetter off you are, obviously. All we really wanted to do was take care of all the frivolous claims so thatwhentherearetrulyseriousissues,taking care of them is not a problem.” The immunity laws also put Wisconsin owners on equal footing with state parks, according to Severson. “We certainly didn’t ask for anything that wouldbeconsideredanactofnegligenceon the owner’s part,” she noted. Chris Hipple, co-owner of Leavitt Recre- ation and Hospitality, which insures RV parks and campgrounds across North America, agreed with Sims, telling WCM that immunity laws are generally a favorable component in the view of insurance companies because they offer another line of defense when it comes to lawsuits. “The reality is you can’t take the camp- ground out of the campground,” he noted. “The insurance companies like these laws because they remove — or give them a defensible position — on the smaller, less- egregious claims.” Hipple explained that lawsuits derived from trip-and-fall claims are either the No. 1 or No. 2 claims year-in and year-out. “Thatisacrossthenation,”hepointedout. “So,ifyoucantakeoutasignificantpercent- age of those and have a deniable situation where you can point to a law, then the claim goes away and your loss ratio goes down. If yourlossratiogoesdown,there’snoneedfor rate increases — and you could possibly evenseearatedecreasebecauseitcouldbe supported by that.” Hipplesaidthatintoday’sworld,claimsare gettingbiggerandbiggerandthatalargepart of it is due to the increased costs of treatment when an accident does occur. He noted that CampgroundOwners(WACO),toldWoodall’s Campground Management (WCM) that the issue of frivolous lawsuits is something she heard quite a bit from members before their immunity legislation was passed. “Everythingfromcampersfallingintoafire pit to tripping over a root, spraining an ankle to slipping on a rock,” she noted. “Tripping is a big one that we hear a lot about.” astheclaimsgetbigger,theratesthatowners pay for their insurance will follow along. “You’re seeing insurance companies taking rate increases right now just simply because we’re getting hammered on both ends with the increased incidents of liability claimsandtheseverityoftheclaims,”Hipple said. “Secondly, with the wildfires and hurri- canespropertyclaimshavegoneupaswell.” He cautioned owners, however, in states that have immunity laws or are looking at mmunity laws, telling WCM that the laws are great—butthatuntiltheygettestedincourt, owners will not truly know the level of protection the laws will afford them. “Waivers are required by insurance com- panies not because they hold up in court, which they do sometimes, but because if you have 100 claims and you send out a copy of that signed waiver with the applicable law, some of the claims may go away,” Hipple explained. “So, what happens is if you now have a liability law you can send that out to the same 100 claims and you may have even more disappear.” Severson noted that the Wisconsin law has not been tested to her knowledge. Brown said it was great that ARVC has taken up the cause and is working with state associations to pass immunity laws in states around the country. He has personally worked in New Hampshire to try and get an immunitylawpassedinthatstate,althoughit was squashed in early 2018. “It was able to get through their state House, but it hit a roadblock in the Senate,” he noted. “They had a lot of lawyers really spreading false information about what we were trying to do and that killed it.” ARVCisworkingwithaWisconsinlawyer, Mark Hazelbaker, to set up a tool kit that members can use to introduce legislation in theirownstates.Hazelbakerhasalsooffered to travel to other states to help during testi- mony in front of state leaders, noted Brown. — Ben Quiggle WCM Inherent risk claims, such as slipping on wet rocks,mightlowerandsomayinsurancecosts. Lori Severson Chris Hipple Officials at the Angel Fire RV Resort in Angel Fire, N.M., a mul- timillion-dollar RV resort built in 2015, are seeing a spike in busi- ness due to the growth in the RV industry, according to company officials. “In just the first eight months of 2018 we welcomed more visitors to Angel Fire RV Resort than ever before,” explained Rebecca Rapp, manager of the 35-acre resort located in northern New Mexico. She credits a stronger digital marketing campaign, customer reviews, adding a calendar with activities for guests, live enter- tainment and a faster check-in process as a few of the reasons for the growth in RV tourism. Rapp also increased direct marketing to groups to take advantage of the larger hospitality areas and the private clubhouse the resort offers for reunions, weddings and conferences. A national trend shows the largest group of RV owners are between the ages of 35-54, noted Rapp, so her team is working to make sure adventure travelers are aware of the amount of year- round, outdoor activities that are available in the area. “RV travelers are seeking more of a resort atmosphere when they’re traveling,” she said. “With our golf course, tennis and pick- leball courts, mountain bike park, ziplining and great restau- rants, our goal is to let RV owners know how easy it is for them to access all of these activities when they stay at our resort. For those wanting more of an outdoor experience, we have horseback riding, ATV trails, guided hunt- ing, fishing, hiking and rafting all within a short distance of their camping site.” With the success of the sum- mer months behind them, the resort is now focusing on travel- ers looking for a winter travel spot, according to Rapp. “Angel Fire Resort is ranked a ‘Top 25 Best Family Ski Resort in North America’ and with the ski lifts just a mile from our park we’re excited to launch our first winter campaign, the ’Western Winter Wonderland,’” she explained. Additionally, the resort has added several on-site winter activities including bingo, themed-parties, s’mores and coffee socials. WCM Angel Fire Manager Says Marketing, Activities Driving RVers to Resort Angel Fire offers a resort atmosphere with a variety of amenities.