Charity Insurance | Social Enterprises | Voluntary Organisations | Community Groups

Should my small Voluntary Organisation have Public Liability Insurance?

By: Shelley Bacon

This is a question that I am often asked, and although it is not stipulated that Voluntary Organisation’s must hold Public Liability Insurance in order to operate, I would ask your organisation “Does your group come into contact with members of the public?” If the answer is yes, whether this be service users participating in one of your activities or visitors attending your fundraising event, then we would recommend that Public Liability Insurance be purchased especially as we live in an increasing litigious society.

As an organisation arranging activities for the community, you do have a duty of care and if a mishap was to occur resulting in an injury to a third party or damage to third party owned property, where your organisation can be proven to be at fault, your organisation could be held responsible for this. Public Liability Insurance would cover the legal costs from a Solicitor investigating the incident and any compensation awarded to the third party. These costs can run very high and would make a large dent on the organisation’s finances, if the cover was not in place, potentially bringing to an end the great work of your group.

The Public Liability Insurance can also provide cover for “Member to Member” liability; this protects the service users taking part in your activities.

We often find that there are other bodies that may make Public Liability Insurance a requirement for your group. Your Local Authority may ask for evidence of the Public Liability Insurance you have in order to offer leased space to you or a Funder may ask for proof of Public Liability on a funding application.

Does your group provide cups of tea and coffee during the course of your activities or do you attend Craft Fairs to sell the craft items lovingly made by service users to raise much needed funds? Public Liability Insurance will often also extend to include Products Liability Insurance to make sure that your liability resulting from the sale or a supply of a product is also covered.

On this subject, Tony Cambridge an Underwriter at Ansvar Insurance has said:

Liability cover is important for small voluntary and charitable organisation’s as it not only protects the organisation but the service user who may be partaking in the activities or attending the centre of operation, with the costs and expenses incurred to defend any action, these sort of costs could well be passed onto trustees if insurance was not in place and we are therefore covering the group up to limits of indemnity without any cost to the customer and so that they can carry on providing the service or activity and not having to cease trading

Your personal adviser will listen to you carefully regarding your needs, as we appreciate that all groups are different and to us it is important to make sure that you have the correct protection in place.