Non-profit organizations work tirelessly all year to support individuals and communities in need, and the holiday period is no different. For those in need, the holidays can be a particularly tough time. In order to either spread some Christmas cheer or wine and dine donors, many non-profit organizations arrange special holiday events and parties. While everyone loves a party, for a non-profit organization, the insurance implications must be considered before the fun can begin.
“Activity for most non-profits tends to slowdown in the holiday period, but if there is increased activity it is usually in the special event area,” says Riley Binford, Executive Vice President, Charity First
Insurance Services. “First off, they have to make sure their policy covers them for the general liability arising from the event. Also, they need to make sure any volunteers – and liability arising from the actions of the volunteers - are covered.”
If a non-profit decides to serve alcohol, but gives it away for free, most general liability policies will provide what’s called host liquor coverage. “But if they’re selling tickets to an event that serves alcohol, they could be deemed to be in the business of selling alcohol, and in that case you need to carry a liquor liability policy,” Binford says.
One of the major issues that non-profit organizations face at such events is the overserving of alcohol to a guest, be it a patron, donor or any other attendee. “If that guest happens to be overserved and then drives home and gets into an accident that kills somebody, the non-profit who put on the event would be held responsible in most states,” Binford says.
“The non-profit has got to make sure the people serving the alcohol have had some training on when to stop serving; it’s called TIPs training.”
For a modern agency or broker, having access to a competent non-profit insurer is crucial. When deciding on a non-profit insurer to partner with, Binford encourages brokers to seek out an insurer with experience and proven success in the space. “We’ve been working in this space since 1985 and for our underwriters, it’s all they look at,” he says. “Secondly, you have to make sure that the insurance carrier or program can provide the coverages you need, like sexual abuse, social service professional and liquor liability.”
“You might find a carrier that can write your insurance, but you might suddenly need sexual abuse coverage or social service professional and find out they won’t look at that. Brokers need to make sure those coverages are available.”
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