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Insurance must-haves for charities

By Amanda Doran
Head of Commercial Combined

 The 4th – 10th December is UK Charity Week, raising awareness of the work of UK’s charities at a time when people are traditionally at their most giving.

As well as the 200,000 + registered charities in the UK, it is estimated that there is a further 100,000 charities in operation that are exempt from registration requirements because they are too small (in England and Wales only charities with an income over £5,000 need to be registered).

QBE Business Insurance has a specialist offering for charities and we work with fundraising organisations, small and large, across the UK to make sure they have the right cover in place to protect the vital work they are doing in our communities.  

Charities can have a wide range of insurance needs, so here I provide answers to some common questions.

When do we need Employers’ Liability insurance?

No matter how large or small, if your charity has paid employees you are legally required to have Employers’ Liability insurance.  This provides cover in the event of you being held liable for injury to an employee if for example they slip on a wet floor or trip over loose wires.

The law states that you must have a minimum indemnity limit of £5 million, though £10 million is often the standard. You also need to ensure that your certificate of insurance is on display. If you are operating without Employers’ Liability insurance you run the risk of a fine, but more than that, you may be vulnerable in the event of a large claim which could affect your ability to carry on operating.

What’s the situation with volunteers?

It’s estimated that around 15 million people in the UK give up their time to volunteer for a charity at least once a month, whether that’s working in a shop or holding a fundraising event.

If your charity mainly relies on volunteers, the general advice, for insurance purposes, is to treat those volunteers in the same way as you do employees.  It is recommended that you ensure you have sufficient Employers’ Liability insurance in place to cover any claims from volunteers who have suffered injury in the course of working for you.

And members of the public?

With claims on the increase, possibly fuelled by the ‘no win, no fee’ compensation culture,  if your charity occupies premises, or comes into contact with members of the public then you should consider the need for Public Liability insurance. This can protect you against claims for injury, loss or damage, for example slips and trips or personal property being lost, stolen or damaged.

Motor Insurance

If your charity operates cars, vans, minibuses or any other vehicles on public roads, you must have sufficient insurance in place.  

What other insurances should we consider?

Every charity will have different needs, so the advice is to carry out a complete risk assessment across all aspects of the operation, and ask the question “What would happen if…?”

Other insurance to consider includes:

Building and Contents ….to cover the cost of repairs, theft, loss or accidental damage to items such as computer equipment and office furniture.

Fidelity cover…to insure against money going missing through embezzlement, fraud or dishonesty.

Professional Indemnity… to cover for disputes arising from a mistake or allegations of negligence, for example giving bad advice or publishing incorrect or defamatory information. Particularly useful if your charity uses social media.

Trustees, Directors & Officers…to cover individuals  responsible for managing the charity’s affairs against being held personally liable if things go wrong.

Travel Insurance…to cover staff and volunteers who may be involved in travel, especially overseas.

Event Insurance… to offer  Public Liability cover for injury, loss or damage at special events, such as garden parties, bouncy castles or concerts. Also useful in case of event cancellation due to bad weather.

To understand the insurance cover that’s right for your charity speak with your insurance broker and ask them about QBE.

More information on UK Charity Week.

More information on QBE Commercial Combined insurance.