Volunteers are one of the cornerstones to running your animal shelter or rescue successfully.  You rely on them to help with day to day needs, care for the animals, organize events, spread the word about your mission, and be passionate about the great work they are doing. Did you know they are one of your biggest risks?  Volunteers are human and unpredictable in their actions.  To successfully manage their actions and minimize risk, implement an official volunteer program.  Here are the categories your program requires:

Volunteer Handbook

Volunteer handbooks contain valuable information about the animal shelter or rescue.  They provide new volunteers with:

  1. Background information
  2. Mission and Vision
  3. Application process
  4. Training expectations
  5. Behavior expectations
  6. Volunteer waiver
  7. Organization policies

Require new volunteers to review the handbook prior to completing a volunteer application.  This information sets the precedence for expectations during their time volunteering for your organization.

Volunteer Waivers

Volunteer waivers are typically included as part of the handbook.  They are vital for animal shelters and rescues to have in place.  A strong waiver includes:

  1. Release of liability for injury and bites
  2. Acceptance that injuries are not covered under a worker’s compensation policy
  3. Acceptance of policies and procedures
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Release to contact to provide medical help or attention if needed

Volunteer waivers are a safety precaution. Volunteers may still choose to file a lawsuit if they believe the animal shelter or rescue is responsible for an injury.  Waivers are part of your defense in court but should not be your only defense.  Work with your legal counsel to draft a waiver that best suits your animal shelter or rescue needs.

The Right Insurance

The best way to be proactive in protecting your animal shelter or rescue from financial loss as a result of a lawsuit is to purchase insurance.  There are many types of insurance you can purchase for your organization including:

  1. General Liability Insurance
  2. Professional Liability Insurance
  3. Accident & Health Insurance
  4. Director’s & Officer’s Insurance

Liability insurance protects your financial assets by paying defense and settlement costs of a covered lawsuit.   Take the time to research animal shelter insurance options today.  Purchasing insurance after a lawsuit is filed will not protect you.

Volunteer Training

Volunteer training is vital for new and existing volunteers.  Create a strong volunteer training program by answering these questions:

  1. What do you want the training to accomplish?
  2. What do your volunteers need to know?
  3. What do your volunteers already know?
  4. How do they learn best?

These answers will help you to create a valuable training program that is beneficial to both the volunteer and the organization.  Once training is completed, have your volunteers tell you what they learned and how they can implement this in their tasks.  Training is never complete and should be offered on a routine basis to volunteers.  The knowledge and education help make them valuable to your team.

 

Animal welfare organizations do a great deal of good for their local communities and the animals they help.  Directors of the organizations have a lot on their schedules with volunteer recruitment, volunteer training, fundraising, and the day to day operations that they often forget to look at their insurance protection plans to verify there is adequate coverage. There are many different types of insurance coverage that are beneficial and necessary in running businesses, but what about non profit organizations, like animal shelters or rescues? Some types of insurance include directors & officers liability, general liability, accident and health, and special event insurance.

General liability insurance is one of the most common types of insurance carried by nonprofit animal shelters.  General liability insurance may provide protection for shelters and rescues in some of the following scenarios:

1.    A visitor to your shelter falls on uneven pavement and injures themselves which results in medical bills.  The medical bills would be paid for by your liability insurance.

2.    A family interested in adopting a dog or cat this is located at a foster home, visits the home and their child falls down the steps injuring themselves.  Coverage under the foster home’s homeowner policy is typically excluded because the visitor was there on business.  A general liability policy would provide coverage for the bills associated with it.

3.    Your organization sets up at local events promoting adoption of your animals. While you are there, one of the dogs jumps up and knocks an individual over causing injury.  A general liability policy would provide coverage for the medical bills as well as defense costs and settlement costs in the event a lawsuit is filed.

By choosing to not carry general liability insurance, your animal shelter is at risk for being sued for any one of the above type events. If you have no insurance in these instances, the shelter or rescue could be forced to close its doors and all of the hard work you and your volunteers have invested will be gone.

There are many different types of insurance that would benefit an animal shelter or rescue. It is most important that the individual shopping for insurance is honest with the insurance agent about all the daily happenings, services, and events being provided and attended by the organization.  Your agent will be able to help guide you in determining what your best insurance options are for complete coverage.

Business organizations under the leadership of their managers operate in different business environments with unique challenges. Just like there are many things that affect the operations of an organization, managers need to wear many hats if they have to make their businesses succeed.

Some of the issues that present crucial challenges to businesses are the work-related injuries and illnesses that can impede the productivity of employees and pose serious legal challenges to organizations. With the rising medical costs, purchasing accident & health insurance coverage can make sure your employees are healthy – physically, financially and emotionally.

Hospital (Inpatient) costs can be daunting for you and your employers, and there can never be a better helper than an appropriate insurance coverage. Some work-related accidents can be traumatic, especially if they involve fractures. Accident & health insurance covers fatal fractures through its fracture benefit plan.

Deaths that result from accidents or other employee engagements can have enormous impact on the financial base of the organization when the beneficiaries file a wrongful death suit. Accident and health insurance covers wrongful death and workman’s liability if the employer is injured in the line of duty. Therefore, the right insurance cover will help protect your organization against financial effects of bodily injuries. This insurance could help you cover your employees lost wages, hospital expenses and rehabilitation expenses in case the injuries subject your employee to long-term ailment.

Instead of worrying about how much your plan will cover, you will be concerned about getting better. For an employer, you will stop wondering what will happen in the event unexpected medication will be required to help treat your employees. Instead, you will let your insurer cater for virtually all costs, including inpatient and outpatient expenses until your employee fully recovers.

Cash payments (out-of-pocket) payments can run out of control and can cause an organization to loose money. In addition, it can cost n organization thousands of dollars to cater for daily needs of an employee. It is worth noting that a combined insurance coverage will be there at the time when you need that important help. A good accident and health insurance, you don’t have to freak about unplanned costs since your supplemental insurance will fill the existing gaps of your health coverage.

With the right accident insurance, employers can provide their employees with insurance benefits and cushion themselves from costs that come with wrong or lack of proper coverage.

 

A landlord may feel the need to require animal insurance as a means of limiting her liability. Landlords, although appearing to have an interest primarily in their tenants and the tenants’ well-being, actually have a greater interest in themselves and the condition of their security property, otherwise known to  the rest of us as merely  our apartment or house. Because the condition and safety of their property interests is at the top of their lists, they must take practical steps to protect that property and their own liability as the owner of the property.

Animal insurance is important because it protects landlords against two types of liability, both of which scare property owners.  Animal  insurance covers the landlord in the event of any damage caused by the animal and  covers liability the landlord may incur as a result of an injurious act of a pet.

Animal insurance covering pet damage to a rental unit can be added as a rider to a tenants regular renter’s insurance policy for an additional policy premium. Insurance which includes liability insurance covering injuries caused by the tenant’s pets can also be added as a rider to the tenant’s renter’s insurance policy in locations where that coverage is available for renters to purchase. i f a  policy purports to cover various pet related injuries, be certain that the policy does not offer such limited coverage that it becomes impracticable to give effect to that provision. Coverage for anything is available in a particular state  only when that state’s legislature authorizes that coverage

There are additional contractual ways of offering protection to a landlord in addition to requiring animal insurance coverage provided by tenants on the acts of their pets. Certain pet agreements entered into by landlords and tenants may serve to reduce risks to landlords caused by pet misbehavior but does not replace the protection of animal insurance. One of these agreements can be put into effect by clearly stating the nature of any acts the landlord is responsible for and which acts of the pet’s behavior are then the sole  responsibility of the tenant-pet owners.

Any landlord making use of a pet agreement  to assign rights and/or responsibilities relating to pets on the premises must maintain a  list of the specific pets covered b the agreement and must further be vigilant to keep the list updated.

 

When you signed on as an employee, a volunteer or a member of the board of directors at your animal shelter no doubt your main concern was providing a valuable community service and taking care of animals in need.  You planned to use your time maximizing your organization’s resources to their best end. So, why are you spending precious time and energy reading about insurance?

In these difficult economic times, it is tempting to buy a cut-rate insurance policy or to skip insurance altogether when you are budgeting for a lean, non-profit.  Don’t fall to temptation. Insurance protection for an animal shelter is as important as providing healthy food for the animals.  Every person involved in or with your group needs and deserves the right kind of protection. Not providing thorough protection puts not only your organization but many individuals at risk.

Animal shelter insurance covers several things that are not covered by the average insurance policy.  When you are researching insurance ask the following questions:

  • Are all dog breeds covered?
  • Are volunteer accidents/injuries covered?
  • Are fostered and adopted animals covered?
  • Are special events and fundraisers covered?
  • Are vehicles owned by the shelter covered and who may drive them?
  • Are board directors and officers covered?

If these particular items are not covered, consider the risk a lawsuit poses to your organization’s finances and, perhaps, its very existence. Board directors and officers give much to your group in terms of time, financial support and community connections. If they are not covered by the organization’s insurance, their personal assets are at risk. Good employees and volunteers are difficult to find and train. They deserve to be covered in case of an accident. The same holds true for your foster parents and families who adopt animals from your shelter.

Searching for animal shelter insurance has no warm and fuzzy appeal yet, it might be the most important step you take toward protecting your shelter and helping it provide the best possible service to the animals and your community. If you are uncertain of your group’s current insurance situation don’t wait to bring it up at the next staff or board of directors meeting. Knowing you’re fully covered will give you the peace of mind to focus fully on your mission.

 

There is much joy to be had while running an animal shelter. Finding animals forever homes on a regular basis can be hard work, but is very rewarding. However, for all the things that can go right in your shelter, there are many others that can go wrong. That is when a liability waiver comes in handy. Liability waivers can save you a lot of headache and financial hardships. Here are a few examples of what a liability waiver can protect you and your shelter from.

1. Dog Bites.

Dogs are the most sought after animal in a shelter, and the majority of visitors in your shelter will likely be looking to add one to their family. When perusing the dogs, the visitors may put their hands in the dogs cage to initiate contact. While many dogs will be docile and friendly, others may perceive this as a threat and bite the stranger’s hand. This can be problematic because injury or disease can happen as a result. If that visitor signed a liability waiver though, then you are clear of any blame.

2. Cat Scratches.

Cats are another animal that is highly sought after in a shelter, and chances are your shelter houses many. One of the cats in your shelter may come into contact with many visitors in a day, and may scratch them. While a cat scratch, or bite may seem harmless at first, it can have lasting consequences. A cat scratch can lead to a nasty bacterial infection known as cat scratch fever. A visitor who contracts cat scratch fever from one of your shelter cats may hold you liable. However, a liability waiver would say different.

3. Slips, Falls. Etc…

Even if your shelter animals are well contained and on their best behavior, there is still many things that can go wrong. A dog may urinate on the ground, and someone could slip in it. The puddle may have gone unnoticed by the shelter staff until this accident occurred, so a wet floor sign didn’t get put out. Liability waivers can include a clause for this situation, and any other non animal related incident.

Every animal shelter needs a little help sometimes, and successful adoption events can really raise awareness and money for your animal welfare organization.  But the keyword there is “successful”.  How do you take an event from average to extraordinary?

Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • Decide on the Feeling.  Are you planning on having this adoption event in conjunction with a black-tie affair?  Will this be a casual day at the park?  Before you can proceed with the rest of the planning, you need to know what kind feeling you want your event to produce.
  • Find a Venue.  It’s not impossible to have adoption events without the animals present, but it’s certainly a lot easier to pull on potential adopters’ heartstrings when they can look into the eyes of those furry friends.  This can cause difficulty when it comes to finding a venue, however, as pets aren’t always as welcome as their human counterparts.  Sometimes venues will make concessions on their animal policies if you explain that you’re a nonprofit and let them know the purpose of the event.  If you’re having difficulty finding a venue, reach out to other organizations in your area that have similar causes for suggestions.  Often, they’ll be more helpful than not.
  • Get Help.  Adoption events can be huge undertakings, and you’ll probably be glad to get any extra hands that you can get.  Reach out to your donor base and your regular volunteers then spread the word via social media.  Often times you can find volunteers for one-time events that don’t otherwise have the time to volunteer on a regular basis.  Have a list of “occupations” on-hand before you ask for help, and as people start to offer themselves up, fill in that list so everybody has a concrete position and knows what they’re responsible for from the very beginning.
  • Have Your Event.  It’ll probably be a bit chaotic, but make sure you take a breath during your event to step back and smile and look at the magic you made happen!  Try to mingle and say hello as oftten as possible because donors and volunteers tend to respond well when they have a name and a handshake to put with the organization.

If you have other tips for planning successful adoption events, please share them with us in the comments section below or talk about it on our AWOIP Facebook page!

Insurance can be one of the most expensive aspects of business from animal welfare organizations. Many go without the coverage they need because they are facing budget cuts or need the funding they do have for other needs, such as animal shelters for all their critters. The team members at AWOIP, LLC (Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program, LLC), are the go-to folks when it comes to securing insurance for animal shelters. Some types of insurance policies that they can offer are:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Volunteer Accident & Health Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Special Event/ Fundraiser Insurance

But to have insurance for the shelters your organization uses, you need to be able to afford those shelters. When funding and donations do not cover these expenses, there is another way you can get the money you need. Grants for animal shelters are abundant, if you know where to look and how to go about getting them.

Many big name environmental organizations and animal welfare groups offer grants and funding help for other smaller groups who are struggling to do the same work. You could look at any local groups that are doing a similar work and see if you could form a partnership with them. They can provide the help you need and offer a unique perspective and they might also be able to recommend places you can look for grants for animal shelters and people you can talk to get some more funding.

State and federal organizations offer grants for any number of things. Chances are you can find grants for animal shelters simply by looking online. You might also want to search based on the type of facility you are. Some grants for animal shelters are base don the type of animals you work with so you could possibly find a grant that fits you perfectly and not have a lot of other competition for the money.

Another option you have is to reach out to people whom you know support the work you are doing. Many well known actors, celebrities, and iconic individuals support animal welfare. It does not hurt to reach out to these individuals and see if they might be willing to help you with the funding you need. Grants for animal shelters can be found, it just takes a unique approach and new way of looking at it.

Wildlife Rescue Insurance

October 29, 2013

Wildlife rescue insurance is simply important for organizations that help protect endangered species. Like animal shelters and clinics, these venues specialize in protecting and rescuing wild life. They also feature onsite physicians that treat animal injuries and other mishaps. These organizations are found across the nation, and offer services for both domestic and wild animals. They also take care of animals that are housed at local zoos and even animal museums. While these entities offer valuable services to the community, they are not exempt from lawsuits or other legal issues. In order to protect your animal or wildlife agency, you simply need the right insurance.

If you are struggling to find coverage for your organization, sites like AWOIPOnline.com. They specialize in helping animal welfare organizations find the right insurance plans and coverage. When it comes to wildlife rescue insurance, there are different types of policies available. According to experts, general liability insurance is a must. This type of coverage protects your organization from faulty claims and legal issues. It also protects your agency from lawsuits that stem from falls, slips, and other mishaps on your property. Whether it is a guest, visitor, or even an employee, you want to protect the physical integrity of your property as well. As a result, property insurance is also a worthwhile and lasting investment.

While all shelters strive to protect their volunteers, visitors, and animals, accidents do occur. This includes dog bites, along with injuries resulting from slips or falls. Whether you’re a director, manager, or volunteer, accident and health insurance is simply mandatory. In fact, this is considered the most common type of wildlife rescue insurance on the market. Sadly, a number of accidents occur within animal shelters and organizations each year. While the most common accidents are animal bites, volunteers have also been exposed to certain illnesses and medical ailments. With proper health or accident insurance, however, their medical costs will be covered by the respective organization or company across the board.

If you require property, professional liability, or accident insurance, AWOIPOnline.com is committed to meeting your needs within time and budget. Remember, even wildlife rescue agencies can be sued or face legal threats on a daily basis. To effectively secure your property and volunteers, simply get comprehensive coverage that offers maximum protection at every turn. For more information on wildlife rescue insurance, contact AWOIPOnline.com for convenient quotes and plans.

Running a non-profit animal shelter means that you’re already squeezing every dime for all it’s worth, and cutting back as much as you can on your expenses. Considering how much liability insurance can cost, and how infrequently it gets used, it’s understandable that your insurance might be something you think about dropping.

Don’t do it.

Your Animal Rescue is Important, Make Sure it’s Protected

You know that your animal shelter is safe for both your pets, the people who come to visit them, and your volunteers. The odds of someone getting hurt while on your property might seem slim, but there’s a big difference between slim and impossible. All it takes is one careless moment, or one unforeseen circumstance and you could find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit that puts your entire animal rescue program at risk. The fact that you are dealing with animals, and can’t predict exactly how they will react to visitors or situation further increases the chances of someone getting hurt.

Having SPCA insurance means that you, your shelter, and your volunteers will be protected if an accident happens, and that you will be able to stay open for business.

What SPCA Insurance Covers

Your animal rescue isn’t like every other rescue, there are traits that make it unique. SPCA insurance providers know this and have done a great job of creating insurance plans that can be customized to perfectly suit your needs.

Getting the Most Out of Your Insurance

In addition to choosing a SPCA insurance policy that covers every aspect of your animal shelter, you should also take care when choosing the agent you will be working with. You’re going to be happiest and feel the most protected when you have an insurance agent who loves pets and is excited about the work that you do. Finding one who has hands on experience with animal shelters similar to yours is a bonus.

If something does go wrong, you need to notify your insurance agent right away!