Many homeowner’s associations rely on volunteer work during the holiday season for numerous activities such as pumpkin patches to hanging Christmas lights. As a result, it is crucial for an HOA to be aware of the potential risks involved and how to effectively mitigate those risks. Here, we’ll discuss the risks associated with volunteer work, ways to mitigate those risks and the type of insurance required to protect HOA’s.
Risks Caused by Volunteers
Volunteer work is a great way to create a thriving community and establish an efficient HOA. Most volunteers have good intentions and are passionate about improving their community. But despite those good intentions a volunteer can quickly find themselves in a desperate situation dramatically effecting their lives. A situation where a volunteer has suffered an injury while conducting work on the HOA’s behalf is one example. This injury could result in high medical bills, a leave of absence from work effecting their ability to support their family or worse. An individual in this situation is very limited in their options and filling a claim against the HOA is extremely likely. If an HOA has not received proper guidance and adequate insurance is not in place, then their policy will not trigger.
How to Protect Your Association
The most effective way to protect an HOA in this situation is to obtain workers compensation insurance. It is very important to keep in mind that not all workers compensation policies will cover volunteers and having no employees with no payroll does not disqualify an HOA from obtaining this coverage. Specific language within these specialized policies will trigger in the event a volunteer is injured while conducting work on behalf of the HOA.
This type of coverage can be acquired from Blue Lime Insurance Group, an agency that specializes within the HOA industry and focuses on the issues that pose a significant risk to their clients.
To further mitigate risk and limit exposure it is good practice for HOA’s to create documentation using signup sheets. Signup sheets can detail the scope of the work/labor conducted, show when & where the work is and shows the volunteers authorization with their signature. Signup sheets can also be used for a homeowner that conducts frequent work throughout the year on behalf of the HOA, such as emptying out trash in a common area once or twice a week. Volunteers should always be selected very carefully, and proper consideration should be given to the type of work they are conducting. Every task requires certain aptitudes and skills, and properly preparing volunteers to be successful in their roles will mitigate the risk to the HOA and improve the volunteers’ experience serving their community; they will be more confident, and so will you.
For more information on creating a risk management program for your volunteers, click here.