Insurance – Who needs it and why?
Anyone who organises an excursion. If you book the excursion, collect names or money to pay for the excursion and/or have children under volunteer supervision during the excursion then you should have Liability insurance.
· Anyone who organises regular activities or gatherings at a venue should have Liability insurance
· Anyone who organises regular activities or gatherings at a venue and collects funds to cover the activities and/or pays an instructor/teacher to provide some form of class should have Liability insurance and Workers Compensation insurance.
By organising or being part of a group/team that organises any of the above you have a Duty of Care or responsibility for the safety of the participants, as well as any property that is damaged by participants or the event organiser/team. If an accident or damage occurs that could have been prevented by the organiser(s) taking reasonable care then the organiser(s) are legally and financially responsible for any expenses incurred as a result of the accident or damage. In the case of an accident this could mean having to pay large medical bills. For damage to property, this could mean paying for the replacement of electronic equipment, furniture or repair of the hired venue.
If you are organising any of the above you should have Liability insurance cover to protect your family’s financial situation. At Risk Management seminars I’ve attended, it’s been pointed out many times that volunteers need to be protected for the situations outline above as well frivolous lawsuits which may be brought against them. Regardless of whether a lawsuit has merit, volunteers still have to pay legal costs to defend against them.
An important point to remember – claiming “I didn’t know” is not a valid defence particularly in situations that involve children.
Another point to note is that even though the venue and instructor have their own liability insurance this does not cover the organiser(s). Organiser(s) need their own Liability insurance.
Examples of situations where liability insurance cover should be put in place.
A few families are getting together weekly at a local hall. Emily is doing most of the organising of activities and is collecting the small amount of money that is required from each family to cover the cost of hall hire and materials.
John has organised a basketball class for home ed students. He takes registrations and collects the money from each student. John pays the total funds collected to the Basketball coach. In this situation Workers Compensation insurance is also required.
Jane wants to organise an excursion to the RSPCA. She makes a school booking to take advantage of the reduced student price. The RSPCA (along with most excursion providers) takes very little responsibility for the students. The organising teacher, in this case Jane, is responsible for student behaviour, management of medical emergencies, property damage, etc. In the case of the RSPCA (and many other providers) only a small number of teachers/adults are able to accompany the students on the excursion. Jane now has the responsibility of ensuring the supervising adults understand their duties, how to manage student behaviour, what to do in a medical emergency and so on.
Sally wants to organise a 2 day camp for home ed students. The Camp personnel are only responsible for students while they are participating in Camp organised activities. Only a limited number of adults are able to attend. Sally is now responsible for ensuring that the supervising adults understand their duties, how to manage student behaviour, what to do in a medical emergency and child safe practises. All adults who attend the camp are legally required to have Working With Children as the camp includes sleeping overnight. Sally is also responsible for all students outside the times of the Camp organised activities. She is legally responsible for their safety and wellbeing and needs to have a comprehensive set of procedures in place to ensure that this takes place.
If you are unsure of whether insurance applies in your situation contact the Home Education WA Coordinator (Gabrielle) and have a chat. firstname.lastname@example.org