Risk Management: Non-Owned Auto

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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.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!!

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In creating an effective crisis management plan, your organization should explore various potential crises your organization can face, such as fire, weather-related perils, workplace violence, and cyber-attacks. After assessing the risks, create a crisis management plan to address those risks identified. This process should be assessed regularly to strengthen any weaknesses in the current plan or identify new risks.

Crisis Management Plans should include the following:

  • Procedures for the immediate response to a crisis, business operations plan, and a contingency plan for every potential crisis identified.
  • Updated inventory of your organization’s personal property and equipment to ease the insurance claims process
  • Identify Employees’ Roles
  • Identify Individuals who are designated to take charge during an emergency

Your crisis management plan should be able to answer, “What do we do [potential situation]?” Your crisis management plan should be reviewed by your attorney and regularly updated. The most effective strategy is to be prepared.

Many insurance carriers can provide additional information to assist with your crisis management plan. Let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help.

THIS IS INTENDED TO BE USED 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! 

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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.

Tips to Help Prevent Employee Theft

A recent report shows that the majority of employee thefts occur in small businesses burglar-157142_960_720with less than 150 employees. In most instances, trusted employees perpetuate employee theft.

The following are a few of the more common embezzlement myths, which fool administrators into complacency:

  • “Everyone who works here is a trusted employee.”
  • “Nonprofits rarely have to deal with embezzlement issues.”
  • “We are protected because the Audit will catch any embezzlement problems.”

Below are practical tips to help minimize employee theft within your organization:

  1. Establish best practices in the accounting department that include dual signature requirement or dual review of disbursements. There should be a separation in key business processes. Do not allow one person, including high-level employees, to have control over any function from start to finish.
  2. Provide training sessions for all employees to spot fraudulent activity and illustrate the damaging impact of fraud.
  3. Surprise audits are effective because fraudsters will not have time to destroy or misplace records.
  4. Thoroughly screen prospective employees (and volunteers) with a background check.
  5. If you contract with a bookkeeping service or an independent contractor, they should provide you with proof of their insurance including General Liability and Professional Liability.
  6. If fraud is suspected, immediately retain legal counsel to conduct an internal investigation. You should consider hiring a law firm with an expertise in embezzlement.
  7. Obtain the appropriate Crime Policy to protect your organization, as most liability and property policies will not cover employee theft. Make sure to carry high enough limits to protect your organizations’ crime exposure.

Crime policies (or Fidelity Bonds) can be purchased as a separate policy or included under the commercial business package. Crime policies require that you cooperate with the insurance company in the event of a loss. Proof of a crime usually requires a full investigation. A Crime Policy provides coverage for loss or damage of money, securities, or other property resulting directly from theft by an employee. Most policies exclude electronic data, unless covered by endorsement. Another option to consider is adding the Volunteer Endorsement in the event you hire volunteers to help in your accounting/bookkeeping department of if they handle funds.

According to the 2017 Hiscox Embezzlement Study, bookkeepers are the most common positions who commit theft followed by managers.  The most common embezzlement schemes include:

  1. Funds theft – employee takes cash or bank deposits, or employee transfers money into their own account.
  2. Check Fraud – Employee alters or forges check.
  3. Credit Card Fraud – Employee fraudulently uses employer credit card/
  4. Payroll Fraud – Employee uses payroll system to divert funds to themselves or family members.
  5. Vendor Fraud – Employee creates fictitious invoices.

A few warning signs of embezzlers include:

  1. Disgruntled employee.
  2. Diligent and ambitious employee who appears to be extremely involved in company matters.
  3. Employee with extravagant lifestyle.

Employers should not be complacent about instituting preventive measures. The reality is people steal from their employers work in an organization with an attitude of blind trust. Having strong internal controls and effective hiring practices will go a long way toward mitigating employee theft risks.

Call us if we can be of assistance or if you would like a quote for crime coverage.

**This is intended to be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult with your attorney and CPA for advice on appropriate controls and policies. 

Risk Management Basics: Preventing Slips, Trips, and falls

Written By: Rebecca Gomez

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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.

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.

October Newsletter

  • What to Consider Before Requesting an Additional Insured

  • Volunteer Risk Management: Handbook

What to Consider Before Requesting an Additional Insured

Every day we receive phone calls from our insureds requesting additional insured certificates and / or endorsements. In today’s business world, it is a common practice to add another entity on to your Commercial General Liability policy. While this is a common request, adding an additional insured on your policy should be carefully considered as there can be financial consequences. Some additional insureds require specific wording which can further complicate the intent of coverage.

A potential problem that can arise from an additional insured is that the liability policy can apply separately to each insured (Organization and additional insured) against whom a claim has been brought.  In other words, general liability coverage applies separately to each insured and can deplete your liability limits. Depending on how broad the endorsement is written, the additional insured may be able to obtain general liability coverage for their own activities and exposure.  Furthermore, under certain circumstances, an additional insured may have direct access the insured’s policy.

There have been changes in the wording of the additional insureds endorsements which help limit the coverage for additional insureds. The language “caused in whole or in part by your (the named insured) acts or omissions” was added to help reduce coverage for additional insured’s sole negligence. The language, however, has its potential drawbacks and should be reviewed by your attorney.

Above are just a few potential liability issues to consider when adding an additional insured on to your general liability policy. This decision should not be taken lightly and dismissed without noting potential consequences. Coverage is per the terms, conditions and exclusions of the General Liability policy. Consider increasing your General Liability limits or purchasing an Umbrella policy to protect against a catastrophic liability loss which may include the added costs and expenses of the additional insured.

Volunteer Risk Management: Handbook

Nonprofit employers and administrators tend to focus on implementing an effective employee handbook which outlines the employees’ policies and procedures. However, many nonprofits tend to neglect writing an effective handbook for their volunteers.  Volunteers are a vital aspect of most Nonprofit organizations and there is an increase liability risk when there are no proper procedures or policies in place. Many administrators mistakenly believe that since they are not technically employees, they do not need a handbook or that it is not as important as an employee handbook. A well -crafted Volunteer handbook or guidebook will go a long way toward preventing potential lawsuits and will help volunteers understand what is expected of them.

A volunteer handbook should be clearly written and reviewed by an employment attorney or HR professional. The handbook should inform the volunteer of the goals and history of the nonprofit organization and how they -the volunteer- fit in with the organizations mission. The Volunteer Handbook should clearly outline the volunteer’s responsibilities, training requirements as well as safety policies. There should be information on which resources the volunteer can utilize, for example if they have a complaint the handbook should list the organization’s contact that will assist them. Additionally, the handbook should explain how the organization and volunteer may terminate their relationship. Finally, the volunteer should sign an acknowledgement indicating that they fully understand and have reviewed the Volunteer Guidebook.

The Volunteer Handbook should be considered as part of your organizations Risk Management plan and should be continually reviewed and updated.

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!

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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
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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

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WHY PEOPLE WITH DENTAL INSURANCE SKIP ORAL HEALTH CHECKUPS 

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.

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE HAVING A TOOTHACHE TO VISIT YOUR DENTIST!!!

Risk Management Special Event Tips

Risk Management Special Event Tips

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Planning for events, fundraisers, and office parties should include the following basic risk management practices.

1.  Each event should have a Special Event Risk Management Plan. If you fail to plan, you run the possibility of injury to participants, employees, volunteers and property.

2.  Record keeping is critical to controlling risk. Events usually require pre-event inspections, contracts, insurance and post-event evaluation. Keep accurate records of the following:

Planning for events, fundraisers, and office parties should include the following basic risk management practices.1.  Each event should have a Special Event Risk Management Plan. If you fail to plan, you run the possibility of injury to participants, employees, volunteers and property.2.  Record keeping is critical to controlling risk. Events usually require pre-event inspections, contracts, insurance and post-event evaluation. Keep accurate records of the following:

~Risk Management Plan ~Staff/Volunteer applications and training records ~Copies of permits, licenses and certificates
~Emergency Evacuation Plan ~Contractor Agreements and proof of all contractors Insurance (liability and workers comp)
3.  Develop an Event Safety Checklist. An event safety checklist serves as a guide to the many issues that should be considered when planning an event. The following are things to consider when creating your event safety checklist.
  • First Aid/Communication–  Mobile communication between: event personnel, first aid and security
  • Staff, Volunteer and Contractors– Background Screening, Training with records kept, Copy of application
  • Permits, Licensing and Registration– Make sure to obtain proper City Permits and Liquor License
  • Fire Prevention– Make sure site has been inspected by local fire department.
  • Parking Facilities– Should be convenient and well-lighted.
  • Seating – Sufficient seating and inspection of seating area. Are seats well maintained? Is lighting adequate? ADA accommodations?
  • Food Safety – Adequate refrigeration, storage, and heat for proper food handling. If food is catered, make sure to obtain certificate of insurance verifying general liability and worker’s compensation coverage is in place.
  • Alcohol Safety– Adequate training and understanding of your policy regarding serving alcohol. Required identification, wristbands, and stop serving alcohol at least 1 to 2 hours before end of event. Make alternative transportation available. Verify Liquor Liability coverage
  • Amenities– Adequate toilet and hand washing facilities, Adequate trash disposal, and a secure Lost and Found area.
  • Emergency Procedures– Staff and volunteers trained on emergency procedures. Clearly posted Evacuation route.
  • Security– Crowd Control is important and security should be trained on how to handle potential problems. For larger events, a security firm may be necessary.
  • Clean Up– Clean Up Crew should continually survey entire area including bathrooms, kitchen and eating area to remove slip & fall hazards.
  • Independent Contractors/Vendors: Including Security, Entertainment, Caterers, Bartenders, Party Rentals, Parking attendants, Janitorial, etc., should provide you with proof of their Liability Insurance adding your organization as an additional insured. Independent contractors should also sign a hold harmless agreement protecting your organization. If contractors or vendors use their employees for your event, obtain their worker’s compensation insurance certificate.
  • Insurance/Legal– Review coverage for event with insurance broker. Obtain certificates of insurance from all Vendors, Contractors, and Co-Sponsors. Obtain signed participant waivers if appropriate.  Legal should review all contracts, waivers and rental agreements.

This is a brief summary and does not include all areas of risk assessment. Each event is unique and the event safety check list should be thoughtfully designed to plan and address the specific risks associated with your event.

Call us for more information if you are interested in Special Events Liability Insurance Coverages. We are here to help!

 

*This is for informational purposes only. Contact your attorney regarding legal matters.

Risk Management tips for your Volunteer Program

Organizations that engage volunteers in their operations should take special care to manage the risks associated with volunteer service. The following risk management strategies can help minimize the risk of volunteer service in your organization and maximize the benefits that volunteers bring to an organization:

  1. Use a volunteer application form to collect information from anyone who wishes to volunteer at your nonprofit. The application should be reviewed and checked for references. If the volunteer is providing direct services to your clients or vulnerable populations (i.e. children, elderly, disabled), a screening procedure should include criminal history background checks and reference checks.
  2. Obtain the volunteer applicant’s permission to verify any and all information on the application.
  3. Use a Volunteer Agreement to set forth the terms of the volunteer’s position in the organization. The volunteer agreement should be customized and based on the work that the volunteer will perform for the nonprofit.
  4. Provide an orientation and training program to make sure the volunteer thoroughly understands his responsibilities and its limitations. The orientation program should also include a grievance process that provides the volunteer information on how to express dissatisfaction or concerns within the organization.

If you have any questions feel free to call us.  We are here to help.
*Always consult with your attorney to review all agreements.