The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on community sector organisations, and many have been trying to make sense of what it means in relation to their insurance and risk management.
The not-for-profit team at Aon, an alliance partner of Our Community, has compiled these answers to the questions most frequently asked by their clients during the pandemic.
1. What is our risk exposure?
This will depend on the circumstances of your organisation. If you haven't already, you should undertake a thorough and urgent assessment of the specific risks posed by COVID-19 for your industry, locations and business activities. The effects of COVID-19 are most likely to be acutely felt in falling demand and general business activity disruption.
2. Do we still need cover if we have reduced services?
Yes, you will still require regular insurances to cover your activities, although they will exclude coronavirus-related claims. For example, if you still have volunteers entering people's homes, you should maintain liability coverage for third-party property damage and personal injury.
3. Do we have cover if one of our volunteers contracts COVID-19?
Voluntary workers' personal accident cover is for accidental injury and accidental death only. The cover does not extend to sickness or illness claims.
4. Are we covered for regular volunteering duties that need to be continued at this time of pandemic?
All cover remains the same for regular activities with the same terms and conditions as agreed upon at the commencement of the policy. Coronavirus-related claims are excluded.
5. Are our volunteers covered for additional activities they are asked to carry out as a result of the pandemic?
If these activities are within the regular scope of work then all cover remains the same, with the same terms and conditions as agreed upon at the commencement of the policy. Coronavirus-related claims are excluded.
6. Are our volunteers covered for any injuries they sustain while working from home?
Provided it can be proved that the volunteer was conducting volunteer work on behalf of the organisation at the time of the injury, then cover will extend to the injured volunteer.
7. As an employer will I be liable if an employee contracts COVID-19?
In some circumstances COVID-19 may be a compensable workplace injury. To be compensable under a workers' compensation policy, work activities must be proven to be the main factor that contributed to the employee's contracting of the virus. The nature of viruses is such that it may be difficult to determine that employment was the main contributing factor. Each claim will be assessed on its individual merits.
8. What can we do to make sure our volunteers and employees are safe while working?
Everyone should be following the guidelines set by the federal and state governments. Where possible, all work should be undertaken at home. If this is not possible, there should be increased use of hand sanitisers and social distancing should be observed. An integrated pandemic response plan developed within your risk management and governance framework is essential to the prevention of harm and the mitigation of potential legal liabilities.
You can download the full FAQ booklet (which includes several other questions and answers) by clicking the on the image to the right.
This help sheet is just one of the ways the Our Community Group is working to support not-for-profits through the COVID-19 crisis, as part of our major campaign to help the not-for-profit sector to survive, re-invent and sustain.