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What insurance does a community group need?

Adequate insurance is essential for all charitable organisations, and community groups are no exception. Even the most prudent and careful community groups can experience unforeseen events; some accidents and incidents that take place are simply unavoidable. While every group is different, all can be susceptible to expensive payouts if the correct insurance cover is not in place.

Here is a guide to the types of insurance available to community groups, and what each one covers against.

Trustee indemnity insurance
Regardless of good intent, trustees can be held liable for poor decisions or wrongful actions if they have caused a loss to the group. Trustee indemnity insurance covers the legal expenses of such claims and defends a trustee against disqualification, investigations or extradition proceedings. Trustees should give serious consideration to this cover; without it, should an allegation of mismanagement be made against them, they may have to defend the claim from their own personal wealth.

Professional indemnity insurance
This insurance covers your group against poor or negligent advice provided to its service users which has resulted in them suffering a financial loss. It’s generally considered essential cover if your group provides advice; for example offering counselling sessions. It covers the legal costs in defending the claim, as well as any compensation or damages payable to the claimant.

Public and product liability insurance
All community groups that deal with members of the public should consider taking out public liability insurance. It is a relatively inexpensive cover and protects against allegations of injury caused to a third party. This could be, for example, if someone was to trip over a loose wire at an event, or a kettle was knocked over and scalded a visitor. Public liability insurance also covers against damage caused to third party property – this could be if carpets were irreparably damaged or walls badly marked after your group hired a premises. Most landlords or local authorities will require your group to have public liability insurance before allowing you to rent somewhere or hold an event.

Employers liability insurance
If your community group has employees, employers liability insurance is a legal requirement. It covers your group against allegations of injury or illness suffered by staff during their employment. Without it, your group could face a fine of up to £2,500 for every day it is uninsured. Most insurers, including Markel, also cover your group’s volunteers under employers liability insurance, however some insurers may cover volunteers under public liability insurance. If you’re unsure which cover they are insured under, check your policy wording or speak to your insurer/broker.

Property damage insurance
If your group owns a building, this insurance covers your building against fire, theft, flood and other disasters, as well as its contents - such as stock and computer equipment.