Financial services provider Zurich has launched a scheme offering public liability insurance to small voluntary organisations and community groups for less that £10 per month or £75 per year. According to Zurich the policy would enable groups to purchase comprehensive public liability cover for a range of activities covering claims and losses up to £10m. The offer is delivered by Tennyson Insurance. The website address is http://www.tennysoninsurance.co.uk/.
We suggest that you use our risk assessment form whilst planning your litter pick. It may also help you to decide if you do or don't need insurance for your event. To open the document please click on the link below:
Open risk assessment form
To insure or not to insure?!
Whether or not volunteer litter-picking groups should take out public liability insurance is a thorny issue. There is a wide spectrum of views among volunteers. Some groups take the view that volunteers are personally responsible for their own liability and some groups get their members to sign disclaimers stating that they will not hold the group responsible in the event that they suffer an injury.
A survey of groups registered on the LitterAction website in December 2009 revealed that exactly half of all groups registered on the website do have insurance, and the other half do not. Of the groups that said they did not have insurance, 96% said it wasn't an issue for them.
At Litteraction, we would certainly urge you at the very least to discuss as a group the question of whether to go for insurance or not. We do think that, in this day and age, insurance is a sensible way to go as, if an unexpected accident did happen, the consequences could not only be personally disastrous but, if there is no insurance in place to help deal with the financial consequences of an accident, could also have a deeply damaging and long term effect on your community and the relationships within it.
The bad news, though, is that public liability insurance can cost a lot and may, in your view, be at the limits of the financial reach of your group.
Unfortunately there is no straight answer, so here's what we suggest:
1. Investigate whether there is someone else’s policy that your group can be covered under. Some parish or town councils offer this facility and it is often the easiest and most cost-effective way of covering your group. If the land you intend to pick on is private land, contact the landowner to find out if your event falls under their liability insurance
2. Ask your local council if they can help – they may be able either to cover your group under a scheme that they have or to point you in a useful direction. If the land is public land, it is sometimes the case that the event can be covered by the council sending one of their representatives along on the day
3. Some counties have county organisations or partnerships who will cover any volunteer group in their area that registers with them
4. Some CPRE branches may be able to help if your litter picking events are done in partnership with them. Contact your local CPRE branch to find out if they are engaged in the Stop the Drop campaign and if this is possible. Please remember that not all branches are actively involved and some do not have appropriate insurance policies.
5. If none of the above works out for you, it may be that you will have to raise some funds to pay for insurance yourself. In that case, you are likely to have to take out insurance for a year (rather than being able simply to cover a specific event) and it could cost you in the region of £200. The two main routes to purchasing direct insurance cover for volunteer litter groups that we know of are :
a. BTCV (The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, known as “Conservation Volunteers” in Northern Ireland ) – if your group becomes a member of BTCV, they will offer you insurance on terms that they have negotiated. Contact BTCV at www2.btcv.org.uk/display/groupinsurance
b. Zurich Municipal are specialists in insuring councils and community groups. Contact them at 084 5602 3896 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote
c. Ladbrook Insurance - an insurance broker based near Sheffield which services a large number of community groups - www.ladbrook.co.uk
Insurance - your experiences
'Didn't know you needed insurance. Not really a problem though, we all take the precautions and wear hi vis clothing.'
'We are a working group of the Parish Council and covered by the council's insurance.'
'We use BTCV's insurance carrier and are very happy with the coverage and rates etc...'
'CUBC uses the free Public Liability provided by the Rotary, all we have to do is get the Rotary to jointly sponsor the event.'
'Covered by local Community Association insurance'
'Haven't seen the need. We don't litter pick by groups, more by individuals walking routes they might walk anyway and carrying a litter bag/stick'.
'Getting insurance has been very costly and we don't have much income and funding at present. We feel that as we work in public parks owned by the council that they should pay for all our insurance.'
'Each member has signed a disclaimer form stating they are responsible for their own safety.'
'Volunteers know the risks and take adequate precautions.'
'Our local town council has allowed us to work under their insurance.'
'The only insurance we have is when we share litter picking/advertising with the local council, who are very helpful. Their insurance covers us.'
Please let us know via our contact page or on the forum if you have any other good ideas or about how you have dealt with the insurance issue. We will endeavor to share your experience with other users of this website.