Each year, many small businesses and organisations close down following a fire, flood, theft or because of the cost of being sued. Insurance is a way of protecting yourself against these and other unexpected expenses. You pay an amount each year and if anything happens then the insurance company will pay most of the costs and you can keep the organisation going.
One example of insurance is workers’ compensation or ‘compo’ insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is for workers who are injured while they are working. It pays injured workers a weekly payment to cover their wages as well as their medical expenses. It also pays for their expenses to help them return to work. Legally, organisations must have this insurance.
Another example is public liability insurance. This covers the organisation from the cost of being sued by someone for loss or damage caused by their activities. It is not compulsory but is a very good idea, since being sued could cost the organisation a lot of its money.
The NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS) has an insurance program to help non government community service organisations to manage their risks through insurance and work out what their insurance needs are. You can call NCOSS on 9211 2599, or go to their website. Their website includes fact sheets on how to compare insurance policies, a scheme to help non government organisations to get cheaper insurance and information about volunteers and workers using their own cars – https://www.ncoss.org.au/
Unfortunately, even with this help, it is pretty hard to know how much insurance you should get. To help you, the board should talk with an insurance broker. Insurance brokers can help people make sure they have the right amount of insurance and can help find the best insurance. They might charge a small fee for this but you often save money because they can help you find the best for your needs. If they try sorting it out themselves, some organisations end up having insurance they don’t need or paying for more expensive cover than they need.
Your local Business Advisory Service can also offer you one-on-one advice on insurance matters, call 1300 650 058.
For more information on workers compensation insurance, call the WorkCover Assistance Service on 13 10 50.