Risk Management: Non-Owned Auto


It is common for nonprofit organizations to have their employees or volunteers drive their personal autos for business-related purposes. This however provides the organization with additional liability exposures. In the event your employee or volunteer is in a car accident while using their personal auto on your behalf, your organization can be held liable. Although California law requires employees to carry personal auto insurance, the injured party can pursue a claim against your organization.

Below are some risk management tips if your employees or volunteers use their personal vehicles on your organization’s behalf:

  • Written driver policy signed by the individual driver
  • Obtain a copy of employee’s current driver’s license.
  • Require proof of personal auto coverage and get updated copies at policy renewal.
  • Run annual motor vehicle record check or use the California DMV pull program
  • Purchase a non-owned auto policy for your organization.

If your employees or volunteers drive their personal vehicles on your organization’s behalf, you should consider purchasing a non-owned auto policy. Non-owned auto coverage can be added to your business package policy, business auto policy, or purchased as a standalone policy. Non-owned auto coverage applies when the damages exceeds the limits of the employees’ personal auto insurance or where their personal auto carrier denies the claim. A non-owned auto policy will provide liability coverage for your organization.

Let us know if you have any questions regarding non-owned auto liability or would us to provide a quote. We are here to help.

This is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

Are You Ready for the New Year?

Be Prepared or it Can Cost You! 








As the New Year begins, it is important for every organization to review their risk management procedures by addressing any weaknesses to prevent potential accidents that lead to costly claims. One risk management tool to assist in mitigating the costs of claims arising out of your organization’s operations is to have adequate insurance coverage in place. Without proper insurance coverage, one lawsuit or a catastrophic loss can close down your operations.

While there are numerous insurance coverages available in the marketplace, the following are basic coverages that every organization should consider:

  • Commercial Property Insurance covers your building, personal property, and equipment in the event of a fire, theft, storm, and other perils outlined in the policy. Consider adding Business Interruption and Equipment breakdown coverages to the property policy. Make sure that you insure your buildings and personal property/equipment to reflect the replacement cost value [cost to restore or replace damaged property without deduction for depreciation]. The failure of adequately insuring your property (at least 80%) can result in a co- insurance penalty. Co-Insurance penalty reduces the amount of recovery that you may expect to recover if you under report the value of your Consider purchasing flood and earthquake insurance, since most property policies exclude damage or losses resulting from earthquake and flood.
  • General Liability Insurance provides coverage for liability claims from a third party (such as a client, vendor, visitor, etc.) for Bodily Injury and Property damage due to negligence. Most General Liability policies include liability coverage for Products/Completed Operations and Personal Injury (i.e. slander or libel).
  • Volunteer-Accident Insurance covers individuals who donates their work to your organization without pay. Coverage is triggered when those individuals are injured while performing duties related to the conduct of your business.
  • Workers’ Compensation covers the medical treatments, disability, and death benefits of employees who are injured or killed during the course of employment. In California, employers must carry worker’s compensation if they hire employees. It is imperative that every organization ensures their work environment is safe as claims history is one of the factors that determines
    Directors & Officers Liability and Employment Practice Liability Coverage: Coverage for Directors and Officers liability can be stand alone or coupled with other coverages such as Employment Practice Liability. It is important to read the policies terms, conditions, and exclusions of your policy and review the coverage with your attorney. It is also important to check if your policy’s defense limits is inside or outside the liability
    1. Directors & Officers Liability- the Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for the nonprofit organization. It is therefore important that they are informed of their legal liability, risk management program, and the organization’s insurance coverages. Directors and officers liability protects the individuals who serve on an organization’s board of directors against claims brought by employees, vendors, or other parties for alleged “wrongful acts” in the management of the organization. There is no standard coverage policy form. Therefore, it is important to read the terms, conditions, and exclusions of the policy. For example, the definition of “insured” differs among insurance
    2. Employment Practices Liability – Employment Practice Liability protects the organization against claims made by employees alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and employment related issues. Most carriers do not insure Wage and Hour claims in California but some may offer a defense sublimit for wage and hour
  • Umbrella policy’s purpose is to protect your organization against a catastrophic liability loss. The Umbrella policy is a form of liability coverage protecting the policyholder for claims in excess of the limits of the primary General Liability, Automobile, or Workers’ Compensation. Umbrella policies may also include a few other liability coverages, such as: Professional Liability, Employee Benefits Liability and Abuse & Molestation.
  • Crime (Fidelity Bond) Insurance provides a source for recovery of funds embezzled by employees or volunteers. If your CPA or Bookkeeper is an independent contractor, make sure they provide you with proof of their insurance (General Liability, Professional Liability, Bond, and Workers compensation policies). If they do not carry their own insurance, discuss this exposure with your attorney, as most crime policies will not insure the acts of independent
  • Professional Liability Insurance coverage that indemnifies the insured for third-party liability claims due to negligence in the performance of professional services. Professionals include Doctors, Lawyers, Therapists, Social Workers, Engineers, etc. The Professional Liability coverage can be purchased as a separate policy or included under a General Liability policy form. However, most standalone professional liability policies are written on a claim made policy form. Therefore, be aware of the retroactive date listed on the policy.
  • Abuse and Molestation Coverage can be critical for social service organizations, especially those who work with children and vulnerable adults. There are no “standard” coverage form and before purchasing coverage make sure to read the terms, conditions, and exclusions carefully. Make sure to screen and supervise prospective employees and volunteers and review with your attorney to make sure your organization carries the adequate limits to protect your
  • Cyber Insurance is a special form of commercial insurance created to protect businesses against cyber (internet) risks, such as hackers and other breaches of computer system security. Also, check other insurance policies (such as General Liability and Directors & Officers) to determine if those policies carry cyber coverage, before purchasing a cyber policy. Claims resulting from cyber losses are on the rise and it is imperative to ensure that your organization has the proper controls in place to protect your data from a Most cyber policies are written on a claims-made basis, it is important to be aware of the retroactive date listed on the policy.
  • Automobile Liability covers organizations who use vehicles as part of their Company vehicles should be insured under a comprehensive commercial liability with limits high enough to protect the organization. If employees use personal vehicles for business, organizations should add hired and non-owned auto liability coverage to protect the business in the event the employee is in an accident.
Start the New Year off right by reviewing your risk management procedures. It is important that you review your current insurance coverages with your broker and attorney. Also, make sure your organization is in compliance by having your broker and attorney review your contracts.

Baker Romero offers an annual review of coverages as well as risk management and loss control services. Let us know if you have any questions regarding any of the coverages listed above or would like us to provide a quote. We are here to help and we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

**This article is intended only for informational purposes and not to be construed as legal advice.

Back to Basics: Workers Compensation Premium Calculation


Did you ever wonder how workers’ compensation is calculated and why premiums fluctuate even though your payroll is consistent?

Most administrators know that workers’ compensation premium is based primarily on estimated annual payroll.  However, many times, we receive concerns from our clients who were billed an additional premium at audit. Many times this additional premium is due to improper payroll reporting during the workers’ compensation renewal. It is important to be as accurate as possible when submitting your workers’ compensation renewal information or the carrier will bill your organization with an additional premium at audit.

The following is a quick review of payroll calculation. Payroll includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Hourly and Salaried payroll
  • Bonus
  • Holiday Pay
  • Sick Pay
  • Vacation Pay
  • Commissions
  • Piece Work
  • Market Value of Gifts
  • Profit Sharing
  • Meals and Housing For Employees
  • Allowances for Hand Tools
  • Expense Allowances not based on receipts
  • Deferred Compensation Plans

Not included in the workers compensation payroll:  Tips, Overtime Excess, Severance Pay, Expense Reimbursement based on Receipts and third-party sick pay

Another area that is critical to managing your premium has to do with Independent Contractors. To avoid this premium charge, 1099’s should provide your organization with proof of their workers compensation insurance (at the very minimum). If the 1099 does not carry workers compensation insurance, the insurance carrier may considered them as employees for premium audit purposes and will charge a corresponding premium. Determination is made on a case-by-case basis.

Having accurate payroll information and documentation will go a long way toward streamlining payroll reporting and premium. If you have any questions, call us. We are here to help.

Risk Management Basics: Preventing Slips, Trips, and falls

Written By: Rebecca Gomez


One of the most common incidents that nonprofits face are slips, trips, and falls. These claims can be costly for many nonprofits and implementing an effective slip and fall incident prevention method will help prevent future claims and keep insurance premiums low. Your organization should establish a risk management policy that focuses on both prevention and procedures in the event an injury occurs. Some good practices include documenting the incident, collecting witness statements and any video surveillance (if possible). These practices can make a huge difference in defending your organization from fraudulent claims as well.

A basic “walk through” of your premises to find potential problems should be implemented daily. Below are a few tips to include in an effective slip, trip, and fall prevention risk management program:

  • Conduct a daily facility safety survey to look for common problems such as wet or greasy floors, loose mats, torn carpeting, bad lighting, clutter, cables or wires and uneven surfaces.
  • Immediately attend to any problems by putting up warning signs and/or closing an area off and taking steps to eliminate the hazard.
  • Maintain all floors and walkways on a consistent basis, using the recommended cleaning products and methods. Fix all uneven surfaces if possible by recoating or leveling the floor. You should mark or illuminate areas that cannot easily be leveled.
  • Train your employees and volunteers in slip and fall safety, and establish guidelines on how they should report problems and respond to customer injuries or hazardous situations
  • Make sure you have secure handrails for all stairs and balconies.
  • Take care of your outdoor areas, including sidewalks and parking lots. Potholes, snow and ice all create potential problems.
  • Additional or dry replacement entrance mats should be available on site during wet weather.
  • Document all of your efforts by keeping records of your daily safety inspections and any maintenance work to improve walking and working surfaces.

Best practice is to have a written policy in place and to train managers, employees, and volunteers on all safety procedures. Safety is everyone’s business!

Your organization should also have a written incident report form to document any such events. It is every employer’s responsibility to provide a safe environment. Be sure you are doing all that you can to recognize and reduce the risk. Slips, trips, and falls have the potential to be a major cause of injury for your employees, volunteers, vendors, and visitors. Be Prepared.

Let us know if you have any questions or would like more information. We are here to help.

Back to Basics: The Importance of the IIPP

by: Rebecca Gomez



In California, organizations with at least one employee are required to have a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that is easily accessible for employees to read. An IIPP is a safety program that requires employers to develop and implement an effective program that improves safety in the workplace. In order for the IIPP to be effective, all employees, supervisors, and management need to be actively involved.  Cal/OSHA requires eight elements to be written in the IIPP and implemented in the workplace (with a few exceptions).

  1. Responsibility (The position/person who is in charge of implementing the IIPP)
  2. Compliance
  3. Communication
  4. Hazard Assessment
  5. Accident/Exposure Investigation
  6. Hazard Correction
  7. Training and Instruction
  8. Recordkeeping

Above are the minimum components required for an IIPP to be acceptable to Cal/OSHA standards. Everything in the IIPP must be implemented and documented to avoid a fine from the Cal/OSHA inspector. If your organization adds additional safety procedures to the IIPP, make sure those procedures are properly implemented with proper documentation.

There are a few exceptions to the IIPP requirements. One exception is as follows:

If your organization has 20 employees or less in a calendar year, whose industry is not on a high hazard list, and has an experience modification rating of 1.1% or less, your organization qualifies for the limited requirements of the IIPP:

  1. Identity of those whose authority and responsibility to implement the IIPP
  2. The schedule of periodic inspections to identify unsafe conditions and work practices
  3. Training provided to employees.

Cal/OSHA provides a sample IIPP program (see attached). Anything that is written in the IIPP must be implemented and have supporting documentation. Administrators need to make sure that employees know who the IIPP administrator (the authority) and who has the responsibility for implementing the procedures in the IIPP (This is usually one of the first questions a Cal/Osha inspector will ask an employee during an inspection). If your organization identifies a specific individual’s name, instead of a position title, make sure to update the IIPP if another individual replaces that position.  It is important to update your IIPP at least once a year.

The IIPP, while statutory, can support an organization’s safety culture. The IIPP enforces the importance of safety in the workplace. A safe work environment can help prevent workplace injury claims and lower your organization’s workers’ compensation premium. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding workers’ compensation or the IIPP. We are here to help.

December Newsletter

Back to Basics: Directors and Officers Liability and Employment Practice Liability Risk Management Tips.

Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, also known as D&O, covers individuals who serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations. Individuals who serve in such areas can be held legally liable for activities that arise from the activities of the organization or the financial claims which result from their decisions. Generally, board members are responsible for the governance of the organization and can be held personally liable for decisions that fail to meet their responsibilities. D&O can be considered one of the most important coverage a nonprofit carries because it insures current and past board members and is often a requirement for potential new board members.

There are no standard policy forms for D&O coverage. Each insurer writes their own form and can have substantial differences among insurance carriers (insurers). When looking at the policy, nonprofit organizations should read the form carefully so that the scope of insurance is understood. For example, most insurers use a claims-made trigger, which insures claims that are initiated during the policy period (date of claim determines coverage not date of act), while some insure claims arising out of activities during the policy period. A nonprofit should also examine the definitions of keywords that are listed in the policy to understand the scope of coverage. For example, “insured” and “insured individuals” usually includes the board members (past, present, and future),  but some carriers also include committee members, spouses, volunteers, and legal representatives.

Many insurance carriers that write D&O for nonprofits will also include Employment Practice Liability (EPLI). The most common types of Employment Practice Liability claims are the following: sexual harassment, racial and gender discrimination, defamation, failure to accommodate, and improper employee classification. Claims for improper employee classification has been on the rise. Some carriers will provide defense for improper employee classification but back pay or penalties owed to the employee are not covered by any D&O policy form (wage and hour issues).

Board Members and Nonprofits should consider the following to help protect themselves against Employment Practices Liability claims:

  • Make sure that Employee handbooks are in compliance with the law and that the company strictly adheres to the policies stated in the handbook.
  • Open communication with employees and make sure that all supervisors are adequately trained
  • Adopt anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and make sure that employees understand that such behavior will not be tolerated.
    • If there is a complaint, make sure the organization does a thorough investigation promptly and takes the appropriate action.
  • Be sure that employees are classified correctly
    • Exempt vs. Nonexempt
    • Independent contractors

This is not an exhaustive list of what board members and Nonprofit administrators should consider in regards to risk management. Consult with your HR representative and/or Employment attorney to check if handbooks are in compliance and if there are other risks that the organization needs to address.

If you have questions regarding Directors and Officers Liability or would like a quote, please contact us. We are here to help.

*This is article is for informational purposes and not to be construed as legal advice.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Party Liability for Employers

With the holidays approaching, attention is now turning to celebrating with family, friends, and coworkers at the company holiday party. Many organizations are in the process of planning the festivities and various liability issues need to be addressed when organizing a party. Incidents are more likely to occur if alcohol is involved. Employers should be concerned with the possible repercussions from intoxicated guests. For example, liability can incur from the following: drunk driving accidents, underage drinking, discrimination claims, premises to liability, workers’ compensation (for falls), and injury to third parties.

Below are some guidelines organizations should consider for planning and managing company holiday parties:

  1. If hiring a third party vendor, verify that they are licensed, bonded, and insured (regardless of function). Request a certificate of insurance and make sure that they have adequate coverage. Ask your attorney or broker what coverage that vendors and your organization need to be sure that there is adequate coverage.
  2. Contract- after hiring the third party vender, obtain a signed contract that will outline the functions and services the vendor will provide. Make sure that the contract is as specific as possible to the event, verify there is a hold-harmless clause (in the event of a vendor-related injury), and have your attorney review the contract before signing.
  3. Serving alcohol- If your organization plans on having alcohol served at your company party, be sure to hire a bartending service that insures its employees against liquor- related liabilities. The bartending-service staff will pose specific liability risks, so it is important that only the bartender service handle drinks and check IDs. Hosts should never pour or mix alcohol, this can increase personal liability risk. If there is a guest who appears to be intoxicated, be sure that they are cut off and that they do not drive themselves home. Hosts should consider appointing a trusted party attendee to help monitor the guest’s alcohol consumption as the host will have to pay attention to other activities.
  4. Be sure that walkways and paths are accessible and clear, to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Walkways should be lighted and signs should be posted to notify guests to watch their step.

These are just a few tips to consider to ensure that the party is safe and fun for the guests involved. Be sure to check with your attorney for any contracts or liability concerns. Also, check with your insurance broker for special events liability coverage. If you have any questions, or would like a special events quote, please contact us we are here to help.

We hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

November Newsletter

Can Workplace Violence be Insured?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have estimated that annually approximately two million Americans are victims of workplace violence. No one is immune from such threat but there are ways to help minimize the risk and considerations to take to protect an organization in case of a threat. Workplace violence can range from verbal or written to physical threats that are intended to cause serious emotional or physical injury and can lead to property damage. Workplace violence is often thought of as active shooter incidents but employers should be aware of other the other scenarios to be proactive in protecting their employees. Workplace Violence situations can encompass a variety of scenarios, such as: domestic violence, when employees fight with each other, angry customers, threats (verbal or written), and this is not an exhaustive list of the various types of workplace violence.

The economic cost of an incident can hurt an organization not only financially but can also affect the organization’s morale (employees, employers, its constituents). An incident can lead to increased workers’ compensation claims and decrease in productivity. Do not assume that your General Liability or Directors’ & Officers’ policies will automatically insure your expenses associated with a workplace violence claim. There is insurance that can assist an organization with some financial costs associated with workplace violence, known as Workplace Violence Insurance. The insurance can assist with Business Interruption expense, Public Image Restoration Expense, and Workplace Violence Expense. The following is a brief summary of some coverages that are available to protect against work place violence issues.

  • Business Interruption Expense (BIE)
    Business Interruption Expense helps with expenses while the organization restores operations at the level that existed prior to incident (workplace violence).
  • Public Restoration Expense
    The Public Restoration Expense helps pays (the reasonable) cost of:
    o Independent public relations consultant
    o A Counseling Seminar for individual insureds conducted by an independent consultant
    o An independent security guard service
  • Workplace Violence Expense
    The Workplace Violence Expense helps pay (the reasonable) cost or expenses for Salary or Wages that the Organizations pays individual insured(s) victimized by workplace violence acts and are/is unable to continue to work because of such workplace violence acts.

While there is no standard policy form for workplace violence coverage, you should discuss this exposure with your executives, board of directors, and attorney. No one is completely safe from workplace violence, your organization should take additional steps to help create a safe environment. One step an organization should consider is training managers and employees to recognize potential issues and train them to (if possible) diffuse the situation with proper techniques and remind employees of policies that have been put in place. Also, remind managers and employees to never put themselves in danger if the situation becomes hostile. While, it may not be possible to prevent hostile situations from occurring, being prepared can help minimize risk and protect your organization.

For more information on workplace violence insurance, call us.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

Managing the Remote Worker

Is your organization considering telecommuting for its employees?  Perhaps you allow your office to telecommute from work once a week and are considering extending from one day to a full work week.  If your organization is considering offering this option to your employees you will still need to consider and implement a risk management programs for remote employees.

Here are a few things to consider when implementing a risk management program to your organization.  These tips were provided by Melanie Lockwood Herman, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.  As a client of Baker Romero & Associates you have access to their policy creation forms and to their webinar vaults.  Contact us for more information. We are here to help.


Wrangle Remote Worker Risk
  •  Prevent Overload with Work Hour Boundaries – Whether your staff members are Millennials, GenXers, Baby Boomers or a mix of these and other generations, remember that team members prize a boss who cares about their wellbeing. Research on tele commuting suggests that many–if not most–office workers telecommute by taking work home and answering late night business emails, even after putting a full day in at the office. Make it clear that you do not expect regular after-hours work, and that your nonprofit’s commitment to ‘work life balance’ is real, and not imagined. To reinforce your policy on after-hours work, be as kind to yourself as you are to your direct reports.
  •  Use a Communications Lasso – Some remote working arrangements fail because far-off staff members are left out and become disengaged. Resolve to make your communications loop a powerful lasso that will reach around the entire team. When in doubt, include all staff in communications, from meeting plans, to out-of-office and vacation schedules. Share and share again.
  • Embrace File Sharing – Just as communications should flow freely, so should materials that represent works in progress and finished products. There are a number of tools for easy sharing, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. At the Center we adopted Dropbox as our file saver/server and realized a substantial cost savings and immediate benefit to teamwork. As Dropbox syncs and updates our files, we’re made aware of what others are working on. This helps us offer timely support–or give needed space–to our colleagues.
  • Update your Nonprofit’s Staff List – During a recent site visit to a client we learned that the staff directory wasn’t made available throughout the organization. Some staff told us that despite being employed for a year or more, they still don’t know the names of colleagues in nearby departments. Obscuring staff names, roles, locations and contact information squashes potential collaboration, and fertilizes the seeds of paranoia and discontent. Resolve to keep your staff list or organizational chart–with relevant contact information, time zones and photos–up-to-date and available to staff at all times.
  •  Get Ready for Your Close Up -If you’ve ever suggested video conferencing for staff or client meetings, you’ve probably witnessed a few negative reactions to the idea. Some staff may resist video conferencing due to their lack of familiarity, while other staff may simply dread their ‘close up’ digital encounter with others. Despite society’s growing comfort with FaceTime for personal video chats, many professionals dread video conferencing, although they welcome face-to-face meetings. According to FOXDEN, an online meeting platform powered by ReadyTalk, “The best form of communication, especially for tough conversations, is face-to-face. With a face-to-face meeting, you can see reactions. You can hear tone and see body language. That’s why it’s the go-to choice for savvy communicators. CEOs, HR personnel, and more use this tool to give feedback and get buy-in.” (Source: FOXDEN powered by ReadyTalk). When face-to-face isn’t possible, video conferencing is the next best thing–offering relative intimacy and the nuances of communication described above. Help your staff members realize the benefits of video conferencing, and after a few tries, they might warm up to it. Another key benefit is the increased opportunity for telecommuters to feel connected and build collegial relationships through video conferencing, which might never happen if the relationship is relegated to email.

As the world turns, our missions, operations, and our work environments must turn as well, to remain relevant to our staff and service recipients. Keep up with the modern age by offering your staff the option to telecommute, and by embracing technology and communications innovations that support that work style. You might find that staff members who can choose their work environment become happier and more productive employees, who respect you for measuring their performance based on their work–not their schedules or time spent at their desks.


*Intended for informational purposes only.  Consult with your attorney or HR professional

June Newsletter

Volunteer Series- Intern Season is here!  What should I consider when hiring my intern? 
  • My Organization is Volunteer Run.  I don’t need more insurance
  • Why People with Dental Insurance Don’t Go to the Dentist…Cost is the biggest fear.  Get informed on your Policy!


Its interns season! Is my intern an employee or a volunteer?
Is my organization covered?
By Jessica Patrice Gomez, esq.
Summer is here and intern season is in full swing! If your organization has an internship program make sure that you have appropriate risk management controls in place.  As we discussed last month, the problem lies with whether an internship should/ could be paid or unpaid.  Following those guidelines is crucial to your organizations risk management program.  Click here to review last months article.
You may still be wondering what specific type of controls should be in place for your organization.  The answer is it depends.  The goal of this series is to consider potential risk management controls that fit your organizations internship program.
The Paid Intern
If you pay your interns then they would be considered an employee. This means that the intern has the same rights and protections as an employee, including protection from wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, potential breach of contract claims, and workers compensation. Make sure your organization is following the appropriate internal and external risk management practices when hiring a paid intern.
Internal controls include appropriate orientation and safety training, background checks, following the applicable meal and rest breaks as well as providing the appropriate intern manuals, if applicable (duration).
External controls includes proper insurance coverage in the event of a claim such as Directors and Officers (D&O), Employment Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI), General Liability, Specific Professional or Errors & Omission (E&O) and Workers Compensation.

The Unpaid Intern
A bigger issue occurs when an intern is unpaid.  An unpaid internship must truly be a volunteer position.  Both federal and state agencies have set up guidelines for determining whether an organization’s internship may be unpaid. If your program does not follow these guidelines then your unpaid intern may have an employment relationship.  Those guidelines can be found in last months article and can be reviewed by clicking here. 
An important internal control is ensuring that your organization’s unpaid internship program is not replacing the position of a paid employee.
An improperly classified intern can lead to wage and hour claims as well as giving the intern the ability to file employment discrimination claims.  You may want to make sure that your D&O and EPLI policy cover your organization in the event of a claim. Obtain a broadly worded policy form.  Note most EPLI policies do not indemnify wage and hour claims but some carriers provide a defense sub limit.
However, if your organization meets the required state and federal DOL requirements for an unpaid internship program make sure that your organization obtains a Volunteer Accident Policy with appropriate limits.
A Volunteer Accident Policy covers a volunteer’s medical expenses while they are a volunteer at an organization. Coverage is excess over any other medical insurance.
Workers’ compensation may not cover your volunteers if they are not endorsed on the policy.  Even if you decide to add volunteers to your workers’ compensation policy it will be more costly than a standard volunteer accident policy.

Med Pay under your General Liability policy may limit or exclude coverage for your injured volunteers. Review the insurance policy terms and conditions.

Always review your handbooks and safety procedure with your attorney and management staff.
Are Your Paid or Volunteer Interns Driving on Behalf of Your Organization?
Remember automobile insurance follows the owner of the vehicle.  This means that your volunteer’s personal automobile insurance will respond first if they are involved in an auto accident during “company time.” Y

our organization should purchase hired and non-owned auto liability to protect it in the event of an automobile accident.
Further, your HR department should verify the appropriate driver guidelines

Volunteer Protection Act: What this really means for your organization

Many Non-Profit organizations believe that because they are a volunteer-run organization that they are shielded from liability and therefore do need insurance.  This belief stems from the language of the Volunteer Protection Act.

The Volunteer Protection Act states that “no volunteer of a nonprofit organization or governmental entity shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the volunteer on behalf of the organization or entity.”

However, the Volunteer Protection Act does not shield the organization from the negligence of a volunteer. Further a volunteer may not be protected if there are state laws that impose liability on the volunteer. For example if a state law requires risk management procedures to be followed and the volunteer does not follow them, there is potential liability.   Click here to see more language regarding the Volunteer Protection Act.

As many nonprofits know from experience, California has abolished charitable immunity. This means that nonprofits do not enjoy immunity from lawsuits or liability. A nonprofit may be sued for its negligent acts from its employees and from its volunteers.

In light of this, nonprofits should protect themselves with internal and external risk management controls. Nonprofits internally should have appropriate risk management controls in place such as hands on training with the volunteer.  Preventative risk management is the first step to keeping claims under control and lowering the overall premium.

External controls protect your organizations from potential claims.  Remember no single insurance policy will cover every claim against your organization.  It is important that your organization protect itself with Directors and Officers and Commercial General Liability with high enough limits.  The limits will depend on your organizations risk exposure and funder contracts.  Review all coverages with your attorney and HR professional.

We are here to help.

For informational purposes only.  This is not to be construed as legal advice



by Pamela Akop

 Routine dental checkups do more than brighten your smile!

They can help keep teeth and gums healthy throughout your life. They can also possibly catch serious medical problems, such as diabetes and heath disease,

However, a CIGNA nationwide survey of consumers finds many aren’t taking advantage of preventive oral health services – even when they have dental coverage.

More than one-fourth of insured adults are not getting regular dental checkups due to concerns about:

  1. Cost
    1. Consumers do not believe preventive dental care is a “free” benefit. They expect to pay something during a routine dental exam, such as a copay or additional services.
    2. Consumers do not check their plan to see what they may owe before a dental appointment – and may not even know how to check their plan. This adds to their concern about cost.
    3. Consumers who have been avoiding the dentist believe their exam will cost more because their dental health may have worsened.
  2. Pain
    1. Consumers believe that if they aren’t having any tooth pain, they don’t need to go the to the dentist.
    2. The lack-of-need excuse is most common with those who have been to the dentist once in the past year. However, this lack of need may be overstated.
    3. The dentist is too painful – even during a cleaning. This is an important reason as to why they don’t go.
    4. When asked about needing dental procedures, almost half of consumers admitted to maintenance or chronic dental conditions that needed attention.
  3. Anxiety
    1. More than four out of 10 people reported fear and anxiety as a barrier for avoiding the dentist.
    2. 25% of people claim to suffer from emotional embarrassment, which can also be a cause of anxiety.
    3. People ages 45 to 64 are 50% more likely not visit the dentist at all during the year compared to those 26 to 34.
    4. There seems to be confusion about what is covered under preventive care. Cost concerns really shouldn’t be a barrier, as most plans cover in-network preventive care visits every six months with no or low out-of-pocket costs.

It is important that individuals can turn to their insurer, dentist or employer for the education and tools that can assist them in overcoming perceived barriers to preventive services.

Having even one dental checkup a year can make a difference. Those who had one exam during the year are nearly twice as likely to report their oral health as very good or excellent compared to those who failed to go at all.


What to Consider When Terminating An Employee

Before the decision is made to terminate an employee, there are a number of issues an Employer will want to consider. With employment related litigation on the rise employers should be aware of the issues at stake. Attached is information about termination issues you should consider from Shannon Jenkins, esq. at Tredway, Lumsdaine, & Doyle, LLP. Click to review the checklist

Note that most General Liability Insurance will not cover employment related lawsuits. Consider purchasing an Employment Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI) to protect your organization against costly litigation. There is no standard liability insurance policy form. You need to review and understand the terms and conditions of the EPLI policy. Call us for more information.
~This is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult with your attorney and HR Professional for advice on appropriate controls and policies