Unity Insurance Services

From Public Sector to the Voluntary Sector: Insurance Considerations

Hira Choudhury-Inns of Unity Insurance Services explains how with the help of a specialist insurance broker insurance need not be a barrier to voluntary organisations taking on local authority functions.

Hira Choudhury-Inns
Hira Choudhury-Inns

Unity Insurance Services is a charity-owned, specialist insurance broker for UK charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations.

With public sector austerity budget measures likely to continue for the foreseeable future, there are increasing opportunities for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises to take over the work, services and (sometimes) assets, traditionally carried out and maintained by the public sector in a controlled, safe and beneficial manner.

Finance directors and treasurers of the voluntary sector may have legitimate concerns regarding the adequacy of existing insurance cover for taking on any new activities.  Nevertheless, by taking a few simple steps to review the options available, most obstacles can be overcome.

Insurance should not be a barrier

Voluntary groups sometimes wrongly assume that the effort of searching for the right kind of insurance and its perceived cost are good reasons not to pursue these opportunities.  However, if you chose a specialist charity insurance broker who can give you the right help and advice, then they will do this work for you.   

Working closely with a specialist broker, voluntary groups should review the new activities to be undertaken or assets to be transferred to them and should weigh the risks against their existing cover and be prepared to change or adapt it accordingly.

Some things to consider…

  • Advice.  Will you be giving advice on a professional basis (paid or unpaid)? Will people be taking decisions with financial consequences based on your advice?  If so, you may need to consider Professional indemnity insurance.

  • Buildings.  Are you taking on any buildings?  Apart from the obvious security and fire measures, when was the building last valued for its rebuild cost? Once every 5 years is recommended.

  • Significant Exclusions and Endorsements.  You should check the small print of your insurance policy before undertaking new functions, not when you might need to make a claim on your policy. Often charities have bought a standard "office" policy that is unsuitable to their real needs and are unaware of the significant exclusions which may include their new activities.  

Partnership insurance solutions

Working in collaboration with other voluntary groups, the public sector and a specialist insurance broker, it may be possible to create collective arrangements that will help you.

With an in-depth understanding of the charity insurance market, a specialist broker can not only recommend the right cover, but also the right insurer for you at the right price. You will have the added peace of mind that you will have the right protection in place for your new activities.

Hira Choudhury-Inns is Managing Director at Unity Insurance Services

To find out more about Unity Insurance Services' products, call 0345 0407702

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