Insurance considerations

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 access to land. Check with the human resources or administrative offices of you agency or partnering NGO for details regarding insurance coverage and/or limitations.

Often 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.

In some situations, programs have required that participants become members of sponsoring organizations, or have charged a fee that includes the cost of a membership in the sponsoring organization to be able to have access to the insurance benefits provided. This arrangement also benefits the sponsoring organization by increasing their membership rolls.

An additional insurance consideration is providing coverage for landowners. Most states have a landowner liability waiver for landowners who open their land for recreational purposes. In some situations, this liability waiver may not be granted if an access fee is charged the person who is using the land.

it pays to check the details of various insurance policies to see if, or under what circumstances, landowners are covered. In some situations, NGO coverage also extends to landowners who are involved in NGO sponsored events or activities.

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.

Resources