By Steven A. Hoskins, Vice President – Administration, Trapper Trails Council, BSA
A kind looking gentlemen comes to your door and asks your name. You state it, then he hands you some papers with the chilling words, “you’ve been served.”
As a Scout leader/volunteer, you did your best to protect your boys! Despite your efforts, someone was injured during on a campout and the family has seen fit to sue. What now?
In Scouting, there are generally two primary sources of insurance for Scouting related activities: BSA Insurance and personal homeowners insurance. If your unit is sponsored by the LDS Church, and under the proper circumstances, you may receive some assistance from the LDS Church.
The Boy Scouts of America provides primary general liability coverage for registered volunteers and excess (meaning secondary) coverage for unregistered volunteers for claims arising out of an official Scouting activity. For liability arising from the operation of a vehicle or watercraft BSA provides excess coverage after the vehicle/watercraft’s owners personal insurance is exhausted regardless of whether the volunteer leader is registered or non-registered.
The critical definition to guarantee coverage is the term “official” Scouting activity. An official Scouting activity is defined as “an activity that is consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws and Rules and the Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.” This definition also includes activities which do not follow the Guide to Safe Scouting particularly as it relates to unauthorized or restricted activities. Thus non-compliance with the Guide to Safe Scouting could mean no BSA insurance coverage. For units sponsored by the LDS Church, assistance is provided on a case by case basis, but even then the LDS Church is likely to ask you to use the limits of your homeowners insurance before Church tithing funds are paid.
To maximize protection for you and your family from lawsuits arising from your involvement in Scouting:
1. Get registered and properly trained,
2. Determine that you have adequate levels of insurance,
3. Abide by the principles in the Guide to Safe Scouting,
4. Never, never, never participate in unauthorized or restricted activities
5. Obtain proper tour plans, use permission slips, as a part of a thorough planning process before engaging in your activity.
For additional information see: www.//scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Alerts/Insurance.aspx