Accidents & Insurance for Nonprofits

Accidents happen...  Every Day...  And in so many different ways you wouldn’t believe it!

Accidents_Insurance_for_NonprofitsMost of our clients have the attitude that “it will never happen to me” and view their insurance program as a necessary evil to serving their mission.  However, statistics show that nonprofit organizations make a claim on their liability insurance on average of once every three years. 

Sure, most of these claims are quite small but some are quite large. Either way insurance for nonprofits is there to protect you and any injured party.  But what can your organization do to make the situation easier to deal with and keep the amount of the claim at a minimum?  The smaller the claim and the smaller the time you or your staff have to spend on it the smaller the headache, right?

There are thousands of publications on risk management and we frequently talk about risk management and how it effects the insurance for nonprofits.  But today let’s think about what to do AFTER an accident happens.

We are specifically talking about accidents involving injury to another person.  This is one type of claim that you would make on your General Liability policy and probably the most common.

Examples of Bodily Injury claims would include:

  • Someone is making a donation at your thrift store and tips over a box and breaks their arm.
  • Tainted food is served at a fundraising event causing people to become violently ill.
  • Someone visits your food bank and your volunteer hits their car with a forklift.


What to do?

#1 Give Immediate Care & Concern

  • Give the injured person as much medical attention as you are qualified to give.

  • Call an ambulance if needed (but never allow your staff or volunteers to drive an injured person to the hospital) or get in touch with someone that can help the injured party

  • Listen attentively to what the injured person has to say but never admit responsibility for the accident

  • Investigate the Accident

  • Gather all pertinent facts about the accident and record them as soon as possible (including if alcohol was consumed, the type of shoes the person was wearing, what the weather was like, etc.)

  • If appropriate, take photos of the accident area

  • Document any treatment provided

  • Obtain necessary information on the injured party and any witnesses (Name, phone number, email address, etc.)

  • Document any conversations employees or staff had with the victim and/or witnesses

#2 Call your Insurance Broker or Insurance Company

  • Promptly submit notice of a potential claim and provide all of the details gathered (this is a requirement in all insurance for nonprofits)

  • Stay in contact with the claim adjustor and if there is any question about how to handle the claimant after the accident seek advice from the adjustor


#3 Immediately correct the safety issue

  • Identify the cause of the accident and take the necessary steps to make sure a similar accident does not happen in the future

  • Discuss the accident with staff and volunteers to identify similar hazards in your organization or operations


#4 Train Employees and Volunteers

  • Establish a written procedure on how to deal with accidents

  • Make sure that your staff and volunteers know what to do before, during and after an accident

  • Constantly monitor any dangerous or risky situations


How an accident is handled can have a significant impact on the severity of a claim.  Studies show that when an injury occurs the victim is less likely to file a claim or engage in a law suit if they feel they were properly cared for at the time of the accident.  In other words, a little TLC can go a long want in preventing large claims.  It also has mitigates the potentially bad publicity that can occur when there is a bad accident.


 Insurance for Nonprofits Nuts and Bold Guide



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