Insurance is something we need. We sometimes resent having to pay it, and we certainly never want to claim – it will mean something has gone wrong and the trouble it causes can be a nightmare. But VCSE organizations must ensure that they obtains adequate cover for the work it undertakes. Be aware of what could go wrong and think about how likely it is to happen and how expensive it could be.
are some of the kinds of insurance you many need.
“public” means virtually everyone except the organisation’s
employees. The policy may or may not include volunteers (check the
small print). Public liability insurance covers personal injury or
property damage caused by the organisation’s negligence or failure
to comply with statutory duties. It could cover, for example, claims
a worker breaking client’s
property while visiting the client at home
theft of a service user’s
property from a community centre
someone who has booked a room in
your premises being injured
a child injured on faulty play
the organisation employs staff, it has a statutory
must have this) to
insure against claims by workers for illness, injury or disease
caused by an employer’s negligence or breach of duty. There is a
minimum statutory cover for this insurance cover. It
is a legal requirement that the Employers Liability Insurance
Certificate is prominently displayed in the workplace and that
expired certificates are kept for 40 years.
the organisation leases a building it may be responsible for insuring
the premises for the costs of rebuilding. If it owns the building, it
does not by law have to insure the premises. However, the trustees of
a registered charity, who have a statutory duty to safeguard the
charity’s assets, could be considered to be in dereliction of their
duty if they did not insure the buildings they own. The costs of
rebuilding, including all professional fees such as the legal fees,
and the cost of temporary accommodation during re-building should be
organisation that has a vehicle on the road must insure the driver(s)
against third party risks (injury or death caused to other road
users). Third party fire and theft or fully comprehensive insurance
will give much better cover. An organisation must also ensure that
vehicles owned by employees or volunteers are adequately covered if
they are to be used for work purposes.
the organisation leases property that has a shop front it may need
special insurance to cover breakage either by vandals or accident.
the organisation provides advice or information to the general public
this type of policy gives cover against any claims resulting from
wrong advice. It can be extended to cover slander or libel which may
be essential for campaigning organisations.
gives cover against theft or damage, including fire.
This type of cover may require
you to comply with the insurer’s requests for secure locks, safes,
burglar alarms, etc. to be installed to the premises.
If volunteers have access to
equipment and if your premises or equipment are shared with any
other organisation you should inform the insurer.
You should keep an up-to-date
list of the ‘contents’ which you consider are covered and review
the amount insured annually.
Insuring property for less than
its real value could invalidate the cover or mean that any claim
will only be partially accepted.
insurance extends Contents Insurance to cover property which is used
away from the organisation’s main base.
insurance is usually expensive, as it covers accidental damage to
property. If the organisation shares equipment with anyone else it
must tell the insurer. (It may be cheaper to hire expensive equipment
such as video cameras.)
Damage and Breakdown
your organisation has highly technical equipment such as computers,
and depends heavily on them, you can insure them against damage and
and Medical Insurance
organisation can insure against staff being off sick, including the
cost of paying out sick pay. Some policies will also cover for staff
sustaining injuries whilst as work.
Committees members may wish to have insurance cover for protection
against personal claims against them. No insurance policy will give
cover for dishonesty or fraud, nor will it affect the legal duty of
trustees to “act in good faith, with reasonable care” for
the organisation. If the organisation is a registered charity it
needs the approval of the Charity Commissioners before paying for
Trustee Liability Insurance (this permission is included in some of
the more recent governing documents).
is important to
keep the risk of personal liability in proportion. Very few trustees
who have acted honestly suffer financial loss as a result of their
always the case with something complex it is best to talk to an
expert. You will be able to talk abut your organization and what it
does so that you have the right amount of protection.