An insurance company has received 73 insurance claims for injuries received at Universal’s Water Park, Volcano Bay, and it wants Universal to get the bill.
A court document reveals that these claims are spread out over the three-year lifespan of Universal Orlando Resort’s newest theme park, at least nine of which are from people who have already sued Universal for their injuries. Including New York tourist James Bowen whose water slide injury left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“For them to have this many claims in a short period of time is troubling,” said Orlando attorney Varun Ramnarine, whose client, a local college student, sued in June. “It’s a brand new water park.”
“Not every injury results in a claim … These are just the claims that are reported. Who is to know about the stuff that doesn’t get reported?”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Admiral Insurance Co. insures the Canadian water slide designer ProSlide Technology. ProSlide was a key slide builder for Univeral Orlando’s Volcano Bay. In August 2020, Admiral filed a federal lawsuit against ProSlide and Universal. They are asking the courts to declare the company not responsible for covering Volcano Bay claims.
Admiral’s lawsuit claims that Universal waited years to notify both them and ProSlide of the claims, and that they are only responsible for covering claims two years after Volcano Bay opened, that window has now expired. But these lawsuits appear to be far from unique.
“It’s a skirmish between deep pockets … over which insurance company is going to pay the bill,” said Miami University law professor Stephen Halpert. “This is very typical behavior by an insurance company that thinks there’s a reason not to pay the claims.”
Nearly half of the claims reportedly come from three Volcano Bay Attractions: Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides and Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Ko’okiri was the only one to have more than 10 claims associated with it. Eight people also filed claims for injuries received on Punga Racers, Bowen was one of them.
All three water slide attractions are still in operation at Universal’s Volcano Bay. The Punga Racers water slide was refitted and reopened no longer using mats and guests go down feet-first.
Admiral’s attorneys declined to comment and Universal did not respond to a comment request by the Sentinel.
“We take every injury seriously and have a safety-first culture that places the safety of our guests and team members above everything else,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said in a previous statement. “We are confident in our process and in the safety of our rides.‘’
Have you been to Volcano Bay? Have you ridden any of these attractions? Tell us about your experience in the comments!