---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin(a)wikimediadc.org>
Date: Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: [wikimedia-dc-board] nonprofit insurance...
To: Lane Rasberry <lane(a)bluerasberry.com>
Cc: Wikimedia DC Board Mailing List <wikimedia-dc-board(a)googlegroups.com>
Wikimedia DC does not currently carry an insurance policy.
That having been said, there are a couple of points that I would recommend
you consider in your case:
(1) The regulation you cite seems to be about general liability coverage
(which typically applies to things like personal injury, etc.). This is
normally not the same as either errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, which
in my experience is typically of interest only when the organization is
performing some sort of professional services (and could be sued for
performing those services improperly) or directors and officers (D&O)
coverage, which is what protects individual members of your board from
liability if you're sued for fiduciary misconduct, etc. I would suggest
clarifying with your local regulatory agency whether they are in fact only
talking about general liability coverage here; while I suppose it's
possible that some quirk of Washington law would allow that to be applied
to other scenarios, it does strike me as rather odd.
(2) Generally speaking -- and, again, without having looked into whether
some aspect of your local laws mandates certain actions on a statutory
basis -- the question of whether an incorporated nonprofit carries
insurance coverage is distinct from the question of whether that nonprofit
indemnifies volunteers against liability related to the performance of
their duties. It's possible, at least under DC law, to do either one
without the other; in other words, we could indemnify our volunteers
without carrying insurance coverage (in which case the organization would
be directly responsible for paying any damages) or we could carry coverage
exclusively for the organization's benefit, without necessarily
indemnifying individual volunteers. I would suggest checking what the
statutory provisions for this are in Washington, but, regardless, I expect
that you will want to have something more detailed and explicit about this
in either your bylaws or some additional policy. Note that you may not
necessarily want to offer a blanket indemnity to everyone who might claim
to be a volunteer, since you may have no knowledge of or control over what
they do in that capacity.
Secretary, Wikimedia District of Columbia
On Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Lane Rasberry <lane(a)bluerasberry.com>
Does Wikimedia DC purchase nonprofit insurance? If so, what kind and from
I am asking on behalf of Wikimedia Cascadia, which is looking at this law
which seems to apply to nonprofit organizations in Washington state:
"a volunteer of a nonprofit organization or governmental entity shall not
be personally liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the volunteer
on behalf of the organization or entity if...
The nonprofit organization carries public liability insurance covering the
organization's liability for harm caused to others for which it is directly
or vicariously liable of not less than the following amounts:
(i) For organizations with gross revenues of less than twenty-five
thousand dollars, at least fifty thousand dollars due to the bodily injury
or death of one person or at least one hundred thousand dollars due to the
bodily injury or death of two or more persons;"
There is talk in Cascadia of protecting volunteers by providing this
insurance at a cost of perhaps $500 per year.
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