Are you protecting your volunteers and your organization?


A 2 part article from Todd Whiteman, Vice President Property Casualty / Nonprofit Insurance Specialist at Enscoe Long Insurance Group, LLC

Many organizations rely on volunteers to assist staff while others are 100% volunteer run and managed.

  • How can you properly protect your volunteers with respects to their own personal liability as well as from an injury?
  • How can you properly protect your organization from liability assumed by their actions as well as from their bodily injury?

General Liability

Every organization should have a General Liability policy in place as soon as they begin operations.  The policy will provide coverage for a host of different exposures, most importantly for this conversation from claims brought by 3rd parties for their Bodily Injury and Property Damage.  This will cover the organization for its acts, as well as the acts of its employees.

“Bodily Injury” means bodily injury, sickness or disease sustained by a person, including death resulting from any of these at any time.

“Property Damage” means physical injury to tangible property, including all resulting loss of use of that property.

The General liability policy can be written to include your volunteers as insureds.   By adding the volunteer as an insured, they now have the same protections that the organization has for claims brought against them personally for bodily injury or property damage to a 3rd party.

Volunteer Medical

While the General Liability policy previously discussed provides for 3rd party protection.  There is typically no coverage afforded to the volunteer for their own injury.  Most policies exclude medical payments to volunteers because they are an insured.  Because of this, many organizations will purchase a Volunteer Medical policy.  This policy will provide coverage at various levels for the following:

  • Accidental Medical Expense (per participant and per accident)
  • Accidental Dental Expense
  • Benefit Period (up to 52 weeks)
  • Accidental Death
  • Accidental Dismemberment & Paralysis

These policies typically start at $300 and go up depending on the exposure such as type of volunteer work, number of volunteers and the number of volunteer days.

Directors & Officers

Directors & Officers, commonly referred to as D&O provides coverage for the mistakes made by the board in how it governs and operates the organization.  Whether the organization is run by employees or by volunteers, there are still decisions being made by the board who are typically unpaid volunteers.

This policy will provide coverage for suits against the Organization, the Board and the Employees.

This policy is meant to cover the board’s actions, inactions and poor decision making process.  It is not meant to provide coverage for Bodily Injury or Property Damage which is the purpose of the General Liability policy.

Volunteer Manual

Does your organization have a volunteer manual?

A clearly thought out, written volunteer manual can help protect the organization, its members, participants and volunteers.  In the 2nd part of this series we will dive deeper into what should be included in a volunteer manual to ensure we are properly protecting all parties including the need for background screening, written policies and procedures and sign off acknowledgments.

Whether your organization is 100% volunteer run, has a board of directors that are volunteers or utilizes some volunteers to operate programs, every organization has some exposure.  You want to protect those that are helping you fulfil you mission.  At the same time, you want to protect your organization to ensure operations can continue in the event of a claim or injury.

Without these protections, would you volunteer and would you put your personal assets and personal health on the line if these protections were not in place?