501(c) & Non Profit Organizations
Non Profits operate in a unique risk environment. It’s one of the few types of organizations that, from inception, begin with considerable directorship exposure. While taking a seat in the c-suite can be a rewarding experience, the prospect of having your personal assets exposed as a director or officer, is a frightening proposition. With the department of labor's new overtime rules (qualifying previously exempt employees) and many non profits expanding into newly charted areas such as crowdfunding, that exposure has been magnified. Recent sector trends including a greater emphasis on PR to increase donor loyalty also increase risk due to greater “saturation” from donors. Executive claims can include:
- Misrepresentations made during fundraising
- “False claims act” related claims for improper accounting practices and other falsified claims made to the government
- Claims asserting fraud through the mismanagement of funds
- Violations for fund solicitations
- Governmental investigations
- Employment related claims including 3rd party harassment and discrimination
Most non-profits are intimately aware of their executive liability but few understand the true level of complexity and diversity of D&O insurance itself. Unlike other insurance products, D&O is not standardized. While many non profits will place a heavy emphasis on premium when making purchase decisions - basing that decision on premium alone is often ill-advised, particularly for larger small and mid sized non profits . Terms that should be addressed and carefully reviewed include:
- Duty To Defend Vs Duty To Indemnify
- Carve outs such as anti-trust, false advertising, etc.
- Broad definitions of loss, insured, claim, etc
- Defense costs outside vs inside the limits
- Acceptable severability clauses
- Wage and Hour Coverage for EPLI
It is also important that non profits understand the entire scope of their risk environment and the carve-outs of each policy. In addition to executive liability needs, many organizations also have a level of professional liability exposure such as educators professional or publishers’ professional liability. Additional exposures that require coverage coordination include coverage for: events, sexual abuse, cyber liability, worker’s compensation, crime, property and more.