My organization is hosting a fundraiser: what insurance should be in place?

Below are the various types of coverage you should check are in place before hosting a fundraising event. Included are tips to ensure event is fun and safe for all!

Auto Liability

Covers injuries or damages to third parties and their property if you cause a car accident.

Tips:

If you will be using a company vehicle to transport groups of people to/from and during your event, ensure all multi-­passenger vehicles meet applicable safety requirements for a vehicle of their size and configuration. Ensure any volunteer drivers are provided with training and that emergency drills are performed. Remember that drivers of any multi­-passenger vehicle that holds 16 or more passengers must hold a commercial driver’s license.

General Liability

Covers injuries and damages to third parties and their property that occur on your premises or as a result of your operations.

Tips:

If your organization will serve alcoholic beverages at a public or members-only fundraising event, Host Liquor Liability coverage is strongly recommended. If your organization sells alcoholic beverages as part of a fundraising event, Liquor Liability coverage will be required. In all cases, ensure age verification methods are employed. Ideally, bar services should be contracted out to a reliable caterer to help reduce the degree of liability your organization assumes.

Crowd control and safety is important during an event with large numbers of spectators and participants. For these types of events, consider contracting with a security company and/or coordinate with local law enforcement to plan for crowd control. For outside events, ensure a public address system is used and if inside a building, ensure that there are sufficient exits for quick evacuation.

For athletic events, participants should be advised in advance that they are participating at their own risk. All promotional materials associated with the event should state that athletes participate at their own risk. Ensure all participants sign a waiver that releases your organization from any liability for resulting injuries. Ensure water, food and first aid are available at designated locations.

Product Liability

Covers injuries and damages to third parties as a result of use of your product.

Tips:

Some fundraising events involving food and secondhand household goods require special attention. If you are hosting events such as luncheons and dinners, consider signing a Hold Harmless agreement with the host venue and have your organization named as an additional insured on the host venue’s policy. For bake sales, check with your local health department regarding any packaging requirements surrounding the sale of home baked goods. When hosting garage and yard sales, check items against the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s recall list at http://www.cpsc.gov. If injuries arise from a product sold by your organization, you could be named as a defendant in subsequent litigation.

Worker’s Comp

Provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured during the course of employment.

Tips:

Advise employees and volunteers in advance of potential risks when assisting with or participating in athletic events. Ensure water, refreshments and basic first aid are available at designated locations.

Crime

Provides protection from loss due to criminal acts such as robbery, burglary and other forms of theft.

Tips:

Put in place extra security and measures when hosting large events where cash is collected. Hire a security firm if significant amounts of cash will be collected and designate someone to oversee the process. Formalize the procedure for tracking, securing and depositing cash which may include making several bank deposits during the event and/or hiring an armored car service. All deposits should be prepared and counted by more than one person.

Inland Marine

Covers your goods in transit on land, the property of others located at your premises, and your goods as they are transported to or from your premises.

Tips:

If employees and volunteers will be transporting equipment such as audio visual components and computers offsite for events, there is a potential for loss or theft. Remind workers and volunteers to keep equipment in their sight and not to leave it in unattended vehicles.