Rotary’s Insurance Coverage

An overview of our insurance coverage by Dan Merkel of the Alpharetta Rotary Club

Keep in mind I am not an attorney and it is understood that my comments are predicated with the phrase “intended to cover.” That being said I am pretty comfortable with what Rotary has in place.

The general liability is the first coverage listed and the basis of the exposure we have. General liability is designed to protect the club(s) and members from suits resulting from bodily injury or property damage caused by our actions or lack of actions arising from us doing what we do in Rotary, i.e. a Rotary Club sponsors and installs a town center Christmas Tree that falls over and injures somebody. A Rotary Club leaves a hot plate plugged in at the hall they use for their weekly meeting, resulting in a fire burning down the building. As stated this is for events, fundraisers and other Rotary activities, which I interpret to include weekly meetings.

The two additional endorsements to this policy include liquor liability and hired and non-owned auto coverage. Liquor liability is a dram shop law coverage which hasn’t gained much momentum in Georgia but it's good to have. It would provide protection if somebody was overserved and went out and caused some damage or worse. The hired auto part is geared toward rental cars, which would be minimal for the clubs, but the non-owned is pretty important. This coverage protects Rotary and not the car owner. So, when I go to do my weekly pick up of day old bread at Fresh Market and take it to North Fulton Charities I am technically on “Rotary time” (like sending the office manager to the CPA’s office) If I were to be at fault in an accident the attorney for the injured party is going to claim had I not been out doing Rotary businesses I would not have been there and cause the accident so Rotary is partially at fault. We do not pay anything for my car (That’s my personal auto insurance) but we protect Rotary in that situation. It is my opinion that this is sufficient coverage with a limit of $7,250,000. There is a $250,000 retention which is similar to a deductible and RI notes that retention is funded at RI already.

The second section of the coverage provided is the Directors and Officers and Employment Practices Liability. D&O is designed to protect Rotary against the actions of the directors of the organization. This would be addressed at several levels starting at the club level on up to the district, zone and RI level. If somebody sued a club for the actions of the board that caused a financial loss to a third party it is designed to respond with a limit of$2,025,000 and a $25,000 retention which is noted as funded as well. An example might be a club president or board decides they don’t want to honor a three-year commitment made by a prior president to use a facility or they back out of an event they committed to, resulting in a financial loss to a third party. Intentional illegal acts are usually not covered. I see this as standard and sufficient coverage.

Employment Practices Liability is designed for wrongful termination, discrimination sexual harassment etc. Provided that under the definition of “who is an insured” they include “volunteers” this will protect against suits from members and prospective members. I have to think with 1.2 million members we have had a few folks over the years claim they were not admitted into a club for one of the reasons in the EEOC list, which I believe includes 10 or 11 classes like sex, race, religion etc. This coverage is also designed for claims of sexual harassment. Turn on the news or open a daily paper for numerous examples!!

As an insurance advisor I am comfortable operating a Rotary Club and a Rotary District under these coverages. I would call this insurance program industry standard and also understand, like me, the agent and agency providing this coverage carries their own errors and omissions coverage so should they have misrepresented or failed to provide the coverage we have them as a back stop as well.

What are they not covering? There is no property coverage, so if a club owns any property they should contact a local agent for coverage. This could include a float used at the annual parade, audio visual equipment for the meetings or tables and chairs purchased and used for events. They do not provide auto insurance, so if you own an old fire truck etc. for the annual parade that would not be covered. They do not provide accident insurance for members who get sick or injured participating in Rotary functions. There is very limited if any coverage for fireworks. Any function resulting in an attendance of more than 25,000 people would not be covered and would need a special events policy. I do not see “Kidnap and Ransom” which is an exposure for international mission trips or international convention. Clubs can purchase this on a per trip basis and should consider coverage that includes repatriation (pay to get you back home) and foreign health coverage.

If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Posted by Dan Merkel
February 3, 2018


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