May 14, 2020 Annual Business Meeting
At the February 2017 Board meeting there was a discussion of potential liability arising from the events that the club hosts. The discussion focused on the number of events that are held, as well as the types of events that could incur liability. For instance, the Club participates in the Killington Chili Festival in which Board members individually prepare batches of chili for public consumption. In addition club members bake cookies that are sold as a fundraiser at the Vermont Holiday Festival. Alcohol is served at many of the club’s events such as Meet Your Neighbor Night, Holiday Dinner and Wine Tasting Dinner Fundraiser. Over the years, various ideas for fundraisers had been scrapped due to liability concerns. Some new Board members voiced a concern regarding potential liability that they could personally incur, and that was a possible reason that the club was having trouble filling Board vacancies. Following this meeting, Janina Curtis obtained a quote for Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance from NFP Insurance in Rutland. (Janina went to a competitor agency so as to avoid a conflict of interest with her business Curtis Insurance Agency.) The NFP quote from Cincinnati was for $750/year for $1M in D&O insurance coverage.
In August 2019, the insurance issue was revisited again, but this time a quote for General Liability coverage was sought as well. NFP Insurance provided a quote for General Liability for $950/year for $1M coverage, and the D&O quote remained at $750/year.
At that point we started to explore other sources of insurance. We looked into an affiliation with the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs, which would make the club eligible for discounted insurance. This organization is based in Washington DC and offers affiliate memberships to clubs that incorporate its name and adopt its bylaws. We learned that General Liability and D&O insurance would cost a minimum of $765/year plus $15/member dues payable to the national organization, plus more dues to state/regional level. With 30 members, the dues would add at least $450 in expenses. This option would cost at least $1,215 /year and would add the administrative burden of joining and becoming active in the national GFWC organization.
In November 2019 we found the Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance, with Kinney Pike as the local agent. We submitted applications describing club activities and received the following quotes: General Liability $550/year and D&O at $600/year, with both policy limits at $1M. This seemed to be more reasonable considering that the minimum premiums for commercial insurance policies are typically in the $500 - $600/year range.
The bylaws of the Greater Killington Women’s Club require a membership vote for expenditures over $400. The Board has reached a unanimous consensus that the club should purchase the General Liability and D&O insurance policies. With the purchase of insurance, the club believes that we can host more creative types of events for members as well as fundraisers geared toward the general public. The Board is recommending this for the protection of our current and future Board members, event sponsors and hosts, as well as to protect club assets. Most non-profits, including all-volunteer ones, commonly have this type of coverage. It is unfortunate that we live in litigious times where this type of protection is necessary.