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Defending a claim can be stressful and expensive, even if you’re found not to be at fault.
As a charity, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for compensation claims by third parties, such as members of the public or other organisations, following fault or negligence of your employees, volunteers or trustees no matter how minor or genuine the mistake.
If you own or occupy land or buildings, this could be claims for accidents on your premises. If you carry out a business activity or arrange events attended by the public, this could be for compensations claims due to the activity, event or supply of goods.
Public Liability Insurance will cover the cost of compensation to third parties for death, injury or damage to property caused by the negligence of your staff, volunteers or members. It also provides cover for the cost of defending claims, such as legal fees.
It covers claims made by anyone, apart from employees, with whom you interact as part of your operations such as:
It does not cover claims by employees, temporary staff, students or people on work placements. For this you need Employers’ Liability insurance.
As a safeguard, a Public Liability policy allows you to continue your normal operations while dealing with real or fraudulent claims of negligence or wrongdoing.
Parents dropped children off at a youth group early; during this time the children were playing and a child broke his leg; his subsequent recovery coincided with his exams. The parents felt that the youth group should have anticipated children arriving early and provided supervision, they alleged negligence. As well as suing for his injuries they also sought compensation for damaging his education and work prospects as his exam grades were affected. The parents did not win the case but the charity still had to go to court and incur legal costs. Their public liability insurance met all court costs, solicitor’s costs and provided peace of mind.
Organisations which own, or are responsible for the upkeep of land or buildings could have claims made against them by members of the public for bodily injury/illness, loss or damage to material property incurred on their premises. As part of a Public Liability policy, Property Owners' Liability cover offers you legal liability protection against these claims.
A visitor to a charity’s offices slipped in the car park. They sued the group for injury and broken glasses. The charity’s insurance provider handled the claim from start to finish, interacting with the claimant and financing legal advice so that the charity could carry on providing its service without having to spend time and money defending the claim.
If you don’t own the premises, but rent or hire it, as the occupier of a property you have a duty of care to visitors and trespassers under the Occupier’s Liability Acts 1957 and 1984. Your charity’s liability under these Acts would fall under general public liability cover.
A Public Liability policy can also include Products Liability cover, which covers your liability for products you make available to the public.
A charity shop sells a chair, which it was donated. When the customer arrived home and sat on it, one of the legs gave way, they fell and injured themselves. Product liability would compensate the customer, if they made a claim against the charity and the product they bought.
While Public Liability insurance is not a legal requirement, in an increasingly litigious society people are encouraged to seek compensation. We therefore recommend every organisation whether a charity, social enterprise or community interest group has Public Liability cover.
There is no statutory minimum level of cover. As a specialist insurance broker we can help recommend the level of cover (also know as the ‘limit of indemnity’) you may need.
If a claim exceeds the maximum amount payable under the policy, the trustees of the charity might find themselves personally liable for the shortfall.
Displaying a disclaimer notice (often found in cloakrooms and car parks) in respect of injury, damage or loss to any person or their property whilst on the premises or making use of the premises, may not mean you avoid liability. We recommend taking professional advice on the use of disclaimer notices.
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Not all liabilities are covered under a Public Liability policy. Depending on what your charity does, you may need additional liability cover.
If you hold databases of personal information you should consider Cyber Liability Insurance to cover the cost of security breaches, the loss of third-party data or cyber extortion.
Professional Indemnity Cover can protect you if someone claims they suffered a financial loss because you advised them incorrectly even if you had good intentions.
Whether you take on temporary volunteers, work-placements, or full-time staff, the law requires you to have Employer’s Liability Insurance to cover any injury, illness or fatality that occurs through their work for you.
Taking out Trustees Indemnity Insurance cover specifically for your Trustees, Directors and Officers will protect your key decision makers if their actions caused losses to the charity.
If you're a charity trustee, treasurer, member of the exec committee or run a voluntary group or Community Interest Company call or email our team of insurance professionals.
While Public Liability insurance is not a legal requirement, we recommend every organisation has this cover.
A charity could be liable for compensation claims by third parties for negligence no matter how minor or genuine the mistake. A charity may need to have Public Liability insurance to qualify for grants and funding. It’s often a requirement, if a charity leases, hires or uses other premises for its work.
Public Liability Insurance will cover the cost of compensation to third parties for death, injury or damage to property caused by the negligence of your staff, volunteers or members. It also provides cover for the cost of defending claims.
Property Owners’ Liability insurance covers claims by members of the public for injury or financial loss alleging the property owner was negligent. For example, a member of the public trips over at a charity’s premises and breaks an arm alleging the charity was negligent. It would cover the cost to defend and meet the claim.
It is usually part of a public liability insurance policy.
Product Liability covers liability claims for injury or financial loss from products produced and made available to the public. It would cover the cost to defend and meet the claim.
In addition to Public Liability insurance, other liability insurance that a charity may need to purchase are: