If you have a valuable possession – such as a car or a home – it’s often wise to insure it. Well, the same can be said if you have a valuable skill.
And Todd Gurley has plenty of that.
The University of Georgia purchased injury insurance on its star running back earlier this season, a policy reportedly worth $10 million. The policy will pay Gurley, who tore his ACL on Saturday, up to $5 million if his injury devalues his draft status, and another $5 million if he is unable to play football again.
“In terms of popularity, it’s become a huge deal nowadays,” International Specialty Insurance executive vice president Chris Larcheveque said on The MoJo Show. “What really put it on the landscape was (former Miami running back Willis) McGahee’s injury (in the 2002 national title game). And since then, guys realized what was at stake, what could happen, and it increased over the years.”
The nice thing is, many schools are able to pay for the insurance. As Larcheveque explained, NCAA rules allow schools to incur this cost without penalty. Budgets are allocated by conference and by school. Some schools use all of their budget for this, while some just use a percentage.
“Overall, the market right now, I’d say is about 200-240 football athletes are buying this each year,” Larcheveque said. “So when you take how many players are drafted, at this point, it’s really almost the entire class is purchasing this when they’re eligible.”
Gurley rushed 123 times for 911 yards – 7.4 yards per carry – and nine touchdowns in six games this season. He was suspended for four games but returned for a 34-7 win over Auburn on Nov. 15, rushing 29 times for 138 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he also tore his ACL that night.
Gurley is, at worst, one of the three best tailbacks in the country.
“It’s all going to depend where these guys end up falling (in the draft),” Larcheveque said, explaining what Gurley can expect. “So you have the traditional permanent disability, and now you have the new loss of value. With the loss of value part of our underwriting, we’ll rank a guy – much like that’s become big business, all these guys that have their draft boards and everything. We use some of that, but we really just look into different things with even some team-scout relationships we have, and we assign a guy a draft pick. All the contracts now are slotted, so you’re able to make that draft pick a monetary dollar amount. And then like an insurance deductible on your car, we’ll set a point that we’d like them to fall beneath, so that they share in some loss and then we can pick up when they really start to suffer something major.”
If healthy, Gurley might have been a first-round draft pick. He still could be, but it’s much more likely that he’ll go in the second round or later.
“If those guys don’t recover and they fall into the middle-second round or later,” Larcheveque explained, “they stand to collect a good portion of the money they missed, which is obviously often into the millions.”