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Insurance for Abuse and Molestation

By February 29, 2024No Comments

While you may not think instances of abuse and molestation will occur at your organization, the reality is that every employee and volunteer represent a potential risk. Many employers are often unaware they can be held liable for the harmful actions of their staff or volunteers, whether it be bullying, abuse or molestation.

Gaps in Traditional Coverage

For a period of time, many insurance policies did not contain exclusions with respect to liability arising out of cases of abuse and molestation. However, in the 1980s, following a dramatic rise in civil and criminal actions against religious and secular organizations over crimes committed against children, insurance companies began to limit or exclude coverage for acts of abuse and molestation. Although the exclusionary language found in policies varies by insurance company, typical insurance coverage does not apply to “bodily injury” or “property damage” arising out of claims of abuse or molestation. Accordingly, if an organization’s insurance policy contains an exclusion of this type, claims against an organization for abuse are not likely to be insured.

Abuse and Molestation Insurance

With the introduction of the abuse and molestation exclusions, many insurers began to offer new options for abuse and molestation coverage. This coverage, which is subject to underwriting requirements, may be added as an endorsement to a traditional commercial liability policy or sold as a stand-alone product. Under this type of insurance, covered claims of misconduct may include actual or threatened abuse, molestation or sexual harassment. Organizations with the proper insurance can be covered for compensatory damages, judgments, settlements, statutory attorney fees and defense costs.

The Role of Risk Management

As a condition for obtaining abuse coverage, many insurance companies require organizations to demonstrate that they have implemented a formal abuse prevention plan.

When reviewing applications for coverage, underwriters look for certain elements in abuse prevention plans, including, but not limited to:

  • A policy statement that confirms the organization’s commitment to providing a safe environment for individuals under their care and declares zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or neglect committed by an employee, member or volunteers
  • Screening procedures to ensure that all employees and volunteers who interact with vulnerable populations are suited for such work
  • Abuse prevention training that is provided to all staff members and volunteers who regularly work with vulnerable populations
  • Operational procedures that are clearly outlined in a written manual, which summarizes guidelines for preventing abuse and harassment
  • Procedures that ensure that any incidents of abuse will be properly reported to the relevant authorities

Conservation United Can Help!

Many organizations find it difficult to develop materials that are required by underwriters in order to be considered for coverage.  Conservation United has a wide variety of Abuse programs and resources that an organization use to develop a solid risk management foundation. 

To learn about our available options, please contact Conservation United today.