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By: Elizabeth Henry, PennPRIME Marketing and Member Services Manager and Ken Porter, Porter & Curtis, LLC.

Imagine one of your volunteers getting stung by a bee while volunteering at the “Clean-Up the Park Day.”  Imagine that volunteer having an allergic reaction to the bee sting, her knees buckle, and swelling is immediate, the volunteer is struggling to breathe.  Imagine that volunteer did not carry an EpiPen, which treats anaphylactic shock.  Luckily, a volunteer calls 911 to get medical help to the park.  After 10 long minutes, the ambulance arrives, treatment is provided on the spot; her airways open.  A trip to the hospital in the ambulance, along with a medical review in the emergency room ended her day of volunteering.

Volunteers are an asset to your municipal entity and, as such, deserve medical expense protection in exchange for their generosity.  The best way to protect your volunteers is to either (1) require or recommend personal accident insurance or (2) purchase group volunteer accident coverage on their behalf.

Accident coverage supplements any other medical insurance a volunteer might have.  Of course, the most likely type of other insurance is health insurance.  However, health coverage is typically subject to co-pays and deductibles.  That could leave your volunteer with substantial out-of-pocket expenses. That’s where accident insurance helps.  It covers most, if not all, of a volunteer’s out-of-pocket medical expenses.  That keeps your volunteer whole, which in turn reduces the likelihood of a volunteer liability suit.  While a volunteer waiver of liability might protect you against lawsuits, it does nothing to help your volunteers and, in fact, might impair your ability to attract volunteers in the future.

A personal accident policy is purchased by the volunteer, while group coverage is purchased by the municipal entity.  If your municipal entity does not want to buy group coverage, you might want to require personal accident insurance or at least recommend it.

Fortunately for the volunteer that got stung by the bee, the ambulance bill and medical co-pay got reimbursed because the entity hosting the “Clean-Up the Park Day” had Group Accident Insurance for all their volunteers.  PennPRIME can provide your municipal entity with Group Accident Insurance.  If you’re interested, please contact me at ehenry@pml.org.



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