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NY Not-For-Profit Insurance: Covering Volunteers

By June 28, 2018

ny not-for-profit insuranceIf you’ve every been involved at any level with a NY not-for-profit organization than you are fully aware that volunteers are the lifeblood of every charitable endeavor.

However, these well meaning philanthropic souls can be the damnation of a charitable organization if proper risk management procedures are not enforced and proper NY not for profit insurance coverage is not in place.

NY Not-For-Profit Insurance and Volunteers

People who volunteer their personal time to share their skills, labor, education, patience, love, compassion, (I could go on and on here) are the closest thing to angels we have in the modern world.

There are so many people that volunteer their time. They give up their weekends, their evenings, they give up time with their own family to provide a little bit of time to someone that may need their attention more.  We should applaud them all (go ahead clap your hands) and thank them whenever we can, for it will be these people that change our world for the better not the bureaucrats…

Protect Volunteers For They Are Valuable

(That sounds like it came out of the Bible doesn’t it, actually I just made it up). Volunteers are not full-time employees and they are not part-time employees.

Volunteers are not employees at all, they are individuals helping your organization for free and as such they are not DIRECTLY covered under your organization’s NY not-for-profit insurance policy.  I highlighted the word directly because on many NY not-for-profit insurance policies they are also not DIRECTLY excluded.

This situation creates a gray area in your not-for-profit insurance general liability coverage as to whether or not in the event that one of your volunteers does something stupid while in the course of volunteering they will be provided insurance coverage under your policy.  The carrier may choose to provide coverage for the volunteer or they may not.

This scenario is carrier, policy, and situation specific and not a risk you should want to take with a valuable volunteer.

If the organization’s NY not-for-profit insurance carrier elects NOT to cover the volunteer, that volunteer will be held personally responsible for the lawsuit and have to pray that their homeowners insurance or renter insurance pick up coverage (If they have one of those policies).

If you are asking “Why Should I Care About That?” Shame on you, Bad Not-for-Profit, Bad!

You should care because this type of lawsuit could ruin your volunteer numbers.  Who wants to volunteer for an organization that won’t provide protection?  Not me!

If you are asking,“OMG, that’s horrible How do I make sure that doesn’t happen to my volunteers?” keep reading…

Volunteers as Additional Insureds

A very easy way to make sure this type of incident does not take place is to add to your NY not-for-profit insurance general liability policy the Volunteers as Insureds endorsement (disclaimer: every carrier handles things differently so do not take this as the Be All, End All fix.  Give us a call at (518) 456-6688 to discuss proper coverage).

The Volunteers as Insureds endorsement adds the language in your general liability policy to read that volunteers are treated the same as employees.  This ensures that volunteers are provided liability coverage in the inevitable event that they do something stupid.

The Rub

Now in the inevitable event that one of your hurt themselves while volunteering the claim goes on your workers compensation insurance.  Yikes…

To find out more about NY not-for-profit insurance coverages or to receive a quote for your organization insurance policy give us a call at (518) 456-6688 or click here to contact us via email.