Nonprofit organizations that provide animal rescue or shelter services find themselves in a difficult situation when trying to acquire insurance. Insurance for animal-related organizations is just not readily available. Most insurance companies flat out refuse to insure any organization with significant animal exposure.
The reason it is so difficult to obtain insurance for shelter and rescue comes down to one issue, animal bites. No matter how careful the organization is, how well trained their employees and volunteers are or how engaged the organization is in proactive risk management, bites still occur frequently.
One of the issues facing rescue operations is the nature and behavior of the animals accepted into the program. Some animals coming into the rescue and shelter programs are aggressive by nature or have been conditioned by circumstances to be frightened and aggressive. Working with aggressive animals inevitably leads to injury to the handler.
Another issue is the nature of rescue operations. Working with displaced animals is stressful for the animal and those working with them, whether a shelter worker, an animal foster provider, or someone providing animal transportation. Even a docile animal can become agitated and act out.
Insurance is the backstop. When an animal injures a volunteer, employee, or third party, the organizations' insurance company responds. Coverage is found under the General Liability, Volunteer Accident, or Workers Compensation policies. All companies that have or do write these lines of business for animal-related nonprofits have suffered significant losses.
So, what to do? Animal-related nonprofits need professional representation even more than any other type of nonprofit. Nonprofit animal rescue, foster, and shelter organizations should be working with an insurance broker specializing in insurance for nonprofits and has extensive experience working with animal serving organizations. The specialist broker will understand animal-related nonprofit organizations' unique needs and have market access that most other brokers don't have.