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Doing Good Can Be Risky Business

At BayRisk Insurance we cover dozens of Bay Area non-profits and membership organizations. Not many people think about or realize the risks these organizations are exposed to. Most everyone (including BayRisk staff) likes to volunteer in some capacity. Whether it's cleaning a shoreline for an afternoon, coaching a soccer team or serving on your local school board volunteers and non-profits should look at and understand these exposures to protect themselves. Here are some basic questions volunteers and non-profits should be asking:

For the Volunteer:

  • Will the organization protect me if I am involved in a lawsuit relating to my activities?
  • What happens if I'm injured in the course of my volunteer duties?
  • Do I have a financial/fiduciary responsibility that I could be held accountable for?
  • Will my personal insurance policies protect me for my volunteer commitments?

For the Organization:

  • Do we protect volunteers from liability exposures due to their actions?
  • Do we have protection for volunteer negligence or inappropriate actions?
  • Do we carry workers' compensation for volunteers?
  • Do we disclose all our volunteer exposures to our insurance carrier?
  • Do we offer Directors and Officers liability insurance to help protect our volunteers personally?
  • Do we have contracts and or waivers in place to protect ourselves from actions by volunteers?
  • Do we have sexual abuse and molestation coverage (esp. for non-profits working with children)?

As you can see there can be some concerning issued for both parties. Volunteers should contact their personal insurance broker/agent to be sure they have personal liability protection under their homeowner/condo/renters policies. They should also ask what type of coverage the non-profit carries before committing to a serious position especially one involving financial decisions of a company. 

Non-profit organizations should consult with their broker/agent on what type of coverage is available, costs involved and what exposures they may not be currently addressing. 

In short, it feels good to do good, but one should take appropriate measures to make sure that doing good does not turn bad. 

If you are a not for profit organization and in need of a review or assistance please feel free to contact us anytime. We work with insurance carriers specifically devoted to helping non-profits in Bay Area, California and beyond.