Tips on Mitigating Risks For Volunteers
22 August 2013 at 10:45 am
With over 5 million Australians volunteering their time each year and this figure set to increase over the next few years, Not for Profit insurance expert, Andrew Moon, shares his tips on how organisations and volunteers can mitigate potential risks through being informed and selecting the right insurance cover.
Seek advice: There isn’t a one size fits all approach to insurance cover, which makes it even more important for organizations and volunteers to be abreast of the risks in the Not for Profit sector. An insurance policy for an organisation like the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, requires cover based on supporting people with Cerebral Palsy, their families and carers, as well as running education programs and funding worldwide research into preventing and finding a cure. It would be different for other Not for Profits which may not have as many groups to consider.
We also find there is some confusion around the type of insurance cover needed and who in the organisation should be insured. These concerns are often around personal liability, where a director of a community service organisation or Not for Profit may be held personally liable for a claim that is brought against the organisation.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) bill, a newly created independent national regulator of charities, also means that directors of NFPs will likely come under increased scrutiny, making insurance in this area even more vital.
Be informed: One of the often overlooked but very real risks, is that volunteers may not be covered by Workers Compensation laws, so organisations need to ensure the right cover is taken out for volunteers in the event they injure themselves or others while performing volunteer duties.
The other consideration is that volunteers may negligently cause personal injury and/or property damage to third parties whilst performing their volunteer activities. These are very real risks Not for Profits need to consider and given not and because not all Not for Profits take out insurances to mitigate these types of risks, volunteers need to be asking what cover is available if the unthinkable does happen and they are injured while volunteering.
Likewise, organisations need to be asking if they will be adequately covered should volunteers be negligent while representing them.
The right volunteer for the task: There are also a number of questions NFPs should be asking about volunteers. Some of the questions could include are your volunteers qualified or physically fit to perform the duties expected of them? Simple preventative measures such as making sure volunteers who perform specialist tasks have the appropriate trade background and qualification or are physically fit for their allocated tasks, can make all the difference to avoid injury to both the volunteer and/or third parties alike.
Training and processes: It’s equally important to ensure volunteers are adequately trained and they’re aware of procedures and protocols relevant to the organisation as well as the roles and responsibilities they’ll be given.
When reviewing insurance providers,Not for Profits need to make sure their cover looks after their most important assets their people, this includes their directors, staff, visitors, clients and volunteers.
About the author: Andrew Moon is the CEO and Board Director of Ansvar Insurance. Prior to commencing with Ansvar Insurance, Moon held leadership roles in financial and corporate services in Australia and overseas.