Having insurance coverage for your program is a good idea, regardless of how well it is planned and implemented. Having verifiable insurance may open doors for other aspects of your program, such as forming nontraditional partnerships. Check with the human resources or administrative offices of your agency or partnering NGO for details regarding insurance coverage and/or limitations.
In most situations, programs sponsored by agencies or NGOs are indemnified or covered by blanket insurance policies provided by the sponsoring agency or organization. In many situations, instructors may need to be formally enrolled as a “volunteer” with the agency, or be a member of the sponsoring organization to be covered. It pays to check the details of various policies and have them in writing before proceeding too far in the program planning.
Occasionally for fishing programs, participants have been required to become members of a partnering or sponsoring organization, or have charged a fee that includes the cost of a membership in that organization to be able to have access to the insurance benefits provided. This arrangement also benefits the organization by increasing their membership rolls.
One other insurance policy that is worth considering is “molestation insurance” to cover potential sexual harassment situations. This insurance is becoming more readily available, but may require a more in-depth background check of the instructors, mentors and guides than may normally be required. Working with adults minimizes, but does not eliminate concerns about sexual harassment claims.
Having participants sign a “liability waiver” is also a good idea. However, courts often deem these waivers invalid if a legal action is brought against the program. Check with the human resources or administrative offices of your agency or partnering NGO for details regarding liability waivers. Sample waivers are included in the Resources section.