Welcome to the last blog post in our 3-part blog post series covering non-profit insurance coverage options! As a reminder, we started this series as a preview to what RSS CEO & Owner, Aaron Hoffman, will be discussing at our non-profit Lunch & Learn on July 23rd. If you are part of a local non-profit and would like to attend our Lunch & Learn, please CLICK HERE. 

Our team at RSS is passionate about helping our clients AND giving back to our community. Having the ability to help non-profits, who give back so much to the community, is very important to our team at RSS.

In our final blog post on Non-profit insurance coverage, we will go over who could be a potential threat to non-profits and a few different claim scenarios that can occur.

 

Who can file lawsuits against non-profit organizations?

 

Non-profit directors are under significant legal scrutiny. The applicable legal standards for non-profit directors and officers are as high as, if not higher than, the standards with respect to for-profit executives. Because of the fiduciary and legal responsibilities these directors and officers have for multiple constituencies, there are several parties that can file against them as claimants in a lawsuit:

  • Donors 
    Donors and contributors to a non-profit may bring a lawsuit against the organization, often citing misappropriation of a restricted donation.
  • Beneficiaries 
    The recipients of the work a non-profit does can bring legal action against the directors and officers of the organization and allege wrongdoing.
  • Regulatory Bodies 
    Claims against non-profit organizations can be brought by state attorneys general in most jurisdictions. At the federal level, government officials from entities such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Labor can bring legal action.
  • Members 
    If the non-profit organization in question is operating as a membership organization, it is vulnerable to claims being filed by members alleging harmful acts with respect to the interests of the members.
  • Third party affiliates 
    Vendors, fundraisers, or other non-profit organizations that have a relationship with the organization in question can allege harm and bring forward a lawsuit.
  • Employees 
    Staff members (both current and former) of non-profits can bring legal action against their organization for alleged wrongful acts including discrimination, wrongful termination, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, and sexual harassment.

 

 Claim Examples

 

Non-profit organizations file D&O claims twice as much as private companies do, according to Willis Towers Watson. For this reason, it’s helpful for non-profit leaders to understand the types of scenarios that lead to a claim as well as the associated costs. Below are some claims examples with costs to the organization that would be covered by a D&O policy.

Misappropriation of Funds: A non-profit grant foundation receives private donations in support of the foundation’s expressed mission. A claim is made against the foundation alleging the funds were used for purposes not aligned with the foundation’s mission.
Cost to the organization: $175,000

Breach of Bylaws: A non-profit association is named in a lawsuit filed by its members. The lawsuit alleges the recent election of a new Executive Director violated the procedures articulated in the association’s bylaws.
Cost to the organization: $115,000 

Anti-trust: A large trade association was being investigated for violations of restraint of trade and anti-trust activities associated with their accreditation and certification program. The case was settled out of court after the association agreed to modify its standard setting and trade practices. However, the legal defense
amounted to $150,000.

Non-profits better our communities and provide opportunities and stability for those in need. It is so very important that non-profits obtain the proper insurance coverage so they can continue to do what they do best: help others. For more information on insurance coverage for non-profits, please contact our office. 

We hope to see you at our Lunch & Learn on July 23rd!