One of the best aspects of working at Smartwaiver is getting to know the thousands of incredible businesses and organizations that use our software. A majority of our customers are passionate, high energy, "make-it-happen" type of people that inspire us each and every day.
One such inspiring Smartwaiver customer is Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Since 2010 Team Rubicon goes where they’re needed most - natural disaster areas. They’ve travelled all over the world to assist communities that have been affected by natural, calamitous events. One of their recent operations was in Smartwaiver’s home state of Oregon where they responded to massive flooding that forced many residents to evacuate their homes.
We love working with Team Rubicon and are extremely thankful for the good work they do.
We caught up with Pat Ross, Deputy Director of Membership to talk about their waiver signing process and how Smartwaiver helps to streamline that work. With 400 volunteer leaders and over 35,000 volunteers (and growing) using paper waivers in the field was not a viable option. Pat recalls what it was like prior to using Smartwaiver:
“Our team leaders would burn through ink cartridges and boxes of printer paper trying to keep up with the rapid flow of volunteers streaming into our field volunteer reception centers. Our members often paid out of pocket every time the printer ink well went dry.”
Pat went on to say, “Once the disaster response operation concluded, our team would then alphabetize the waivers (sometimes in the thousands), box them up, and ship them to our Headquarters in Los Angeles. Then, we'd re-file the waivers and pay a fee to house them safely.
At every point there was frustration:
"Why does the printer not work on this computer?”
"Which driver do we need to re-download?"
"Oh, great, no more ink."
"Awesome, who spilled coffee on the last box of printer paper?"
"I need to resign my waiver, I left my paperwork at home."
"How on earth are we ever going to organize thousands of waivers?"
“Where is so-and-so's waiver? Let's just sift through this seeming endless pile of paper and hope we get lucky!"
After dealing with the frustration of paper waivers, Team Rubicon turned to Smartwaiver to simplify and centralize their waiver process. When volunteers arrive on the scene of a disaster they are ready to dive in and get to work. Having to spend time filling out paper documents isn’t ideal nor is it a good use of the volunteer’s valuable time. With Smartwaiver, Team Rubicon is able to create an unlimited number of waiver templates and then distribute the correct waiver in a dispatch email to the volunteers before they head to the disaster zone. This allows volunteers to get to their important work quickly!
If a volunteer does need to sign a waiver on site, or if a waiver is required by a homeowner, tablets and smartphones have replaced the clipboards in the field.
Houston residents Billy and Juan Velasco, a Vietnam Army veteran, drop by Team Rubicon's forward operating base to request assistance in the wake of severe flooding. TR member Beth Curry gathers their information utilizing Smartwaiver so a strike team of volunteers can be sent to the Velascos' property to clean up.
With Smartwaiver, the headache of having to deal with the massive amounts of paper waivers was eliminated. Once a waiver is filled out and submitted, the signed, legal document is stored in our redundant and encrypted data storage system. While the admin piece of Team Rubicon’s operations certainly isn’t glamorous, it is crucial. Team members can easily find a signed volunteer waiver in seconds by searching for last name or DOB.
The simplicity of the Smartwaiver platform makes it easy for every volunteer leader to use, regardless of their technical knowledge. And because volunteer data is securely stored for however long they need it, other departments at Team Rubicon are able to benefit as well. Whether it’s sending thank you cards or to follow up with past participants, the process has been made simpler.
Pat concludes, "Smartwaiver has greatly eased our “click to shovel” process and accelerated Team Rubicon’s ability to get to work.”
For any business that’s had to deal with paper waivers, the decision to move to Smartwaiver is pretty obvious. Ditching the paper and using Smartwaiver saves time and frustration for both the business and their customers while providing valuable business insights. For smart, forward-thinking insurance companies the benefits are just as clear: secure, online storage, security features like Certificate of Authenticity and Auto Photo Capture on every waiver, required fields, and so on...
One of our smart, forward-thinking insurance partners, Affiliate Guard Insurance, wanted to share their thoughts on why they recommend Smartwaiver and going digital.
Digital Smart Waivers Versus Paper: Why It Matters
By: Vaughn Vernon, Owner, Affiliate Guard Insurance
Affiliate Guard provides insurance for over 20 percent of the 10,000 CrossFit gyms worldwide. And while the experience at every box is different, one thing most athletes can expect at the front door is the same: they must sign a waiver before stepping foot on the rubberized floor.
Today my clients can choose between offering paper or digital waivers to their athletes. Right now, more than half of our clients use digital waivers, and we are working toward increasing that to 100 percent for a number of reasons.
The first reason why is also the most obvious: you never have to physically look for an online waiver in the event you get drawn into suit. Most CrossFit owners are community-builders and athletes, not file clerks. It’s easy to misplace a piece of paper when space, time and personnel resources are tight.
Storage is an issue for so many box owners, and digital smart waivers are stored in the cloud. If you move your location, you won’t have to worry about moving files, cabinets, or papers. Smart waivers are safely kept in your online storage system and easily found in the event you should need them.
And you may need them. Most states require that waivers be kept for a minimum of three years after they’re filled out. If you live in the sunshine state of Florida, you need to keep them for five years. That adds up!
A small box sees hundreds of clients in a year, and a larger box could see thousands through competitions and trials. If you sell your business, you are still personally responsible for anyone that draws said box into suit for a minimum of two years afterward, and more in some states.
Even if your organization is dissolved, the box changes name, and you have a whole new life, YOU still need to be in possession of your former athletes’ waivers. It’s not wise to trust anyone who buys your box to keep these important papers. Go digital and they’ll always be a click away.
Here’s some advice that I tell my clients: Every single person that walks through your doors needs a waiver. I don’t care how busy you are, if your printer ran out of toner, or your head coach forgot to get the copies made. You must protect yourself. Athletes can get hurt doing CrossFit, spectators can get hurt watching CrossFit, and if there’s no signed waiver, you are on the hook for their injuries.
Less than ten times in my career I have seen a box owner drawn into suit without a waiver in hand. The reason why matters not. It could have been misplaced or damaged in a fire. The box dog could have swallowed it whole. Whatever the reason is, if you enter court without a waiver, you are going into a gunfight with a butter knife.
Not on my watch! Transfer to a digital platform like Smartwaiver, and you will be good to go. It takes only a few minutes to train your team on how to digitally sign someone in. You will thank yourself in the long run.
Smart Client: G6 Airpark
Location: Vancouver, WA
What they do: Indoor trampoline park with wall-to-wall trampolines, an open jump arena, a dodgeball court, a basketball dunk station, a gymnastics ‘trick’ zone, and a separate jump area for children under 8. Birthday parties, special events, fitness, and recreation.
The Digital Waiver: Online and at the front desk
Device used for the Smartwaiver Kiosk: iPad II
Why Smartwaiver?: “We see thousands of customers each month so we needed a simple to use but robust and flexible waiver solution that we could rely on. Smartwaiver was definitely the best fit. And their customer support is fantastic.”
Question: How long does it take to manually transcribe 200k paper waivers into a spreadsheet?
Answer: Too long
This was one of the many reasons we got a call from the NFL a few months ago (yes, that NFL).
Since 1992 the NFL has operated the NFL Experience, a temporary interactive theme park during the week of the Super Bowl offering participatory games, attractions and kid’s clinics. At last year’s event in Indianapolis, over 200k fans visited the NFL Experience. Each of those visitors needed to sign a release of liability waiver to use the facility and each waiver needed to be manually transcribed… Yikes!
The NFL is expecting similar numbers in New Orleans this year but they’ll be going digital with their waivers for the first time, thanks to Smartwaiver. Fans will be encouraged to sign their digital waiver online before they arrive but for those that show up not having signed a waiver multiple Smartwaiver Kiosks will be set up at the facility to accommodate them.
The office is split on who they want to see win in the big game, but we’ll all rooting for digital waivers!