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Home»Volunteers»Insurance Information for Volunteers

Insurance Information for Volunteers

(Revised June 2011)

Below are brief outlines of insurance coverage provided by or through the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America:

Comprehensive General Liability Insurance

This coverage provides primary general liability coverage for registered volunteer Scouters with respect to claims arising out of an official Scouting activity with the exception that the coverage is excess over any insurance which may be available to the volunteer for loss arising from the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle or watercraft.  This insurance is only available while the vehicle or watercraft is in the actual use of a Scouting unit and being used for a Scouting purpose.  Coverage is more than $5 million for bodily injury and property damage.

The insurance provided unregistered Scouting volunteers through the general liability insurance program is excess over any other insurance the volunteer might have to his or her benefit, usually a homeowners, personal liability, or auto liability policy.

The general liability policy does not provide indemnification or defense coverage to those individuals who commit intentional and/or criminal acts.  The Boy Scouts of America does not have an insurance policy which provides defense for situations involving allegations of intentional and/or criminal acts.
Secondary Automobile Liability Insurance

All vehicles MUST be covered by a liability insurance policy.  The amount of this coverage must meet or exceed the insurance requirement of the state in which the vehicle is licensed.  (It is recommended, however, that coverage limits be at least $100,000 combined single limit.)  Any vehicle carrying 10 or more passengers is required to have limits of $500,000 single limit.  In the case of rented vehicles, coverage limit requirements can be met by combining the limits of personal coverage carried by the driver with coverage carried by the owner of the rented vehicle.  All vehicles used in travel outside the United States must carry a liability insurance policy that complies with or exceeds the requirements of that country.  The Council's automobile liability insurance is excess of the insurance the owner of the auto carries, providing insurance protection above the limits carried on the auto up to the Councils $15 million limit of coverage.

Tour Plan

Times when a tour plan must be submitted for council review include:
•    Trips of 500 miles or more
•    Trips outside of council borders not to a council-owned property
•    Trips to any national high-adventure base, national Scout jamboree, National Order of the Arrow Conference, or regionally sponsored event
•    When conducting the following activities outside of council or district events:
o    Aquatics activities (swimming, boating, floating, scuba, etc.) off council-owned properties
o    Climbing and rappelling off council-owned properties
o    Orientation flights (process flying permit)
o    Shooting sports off council-owned properties
o    Any activities involving motorized vehicles as part of the program (snowmobiles, boating, etc.)
o    At a council’s request

Chartered Organizations for Scouting Units

The general liability policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability arising out of their chartering a traditional Scouting unit.  Automobile and maritime liability coverage is provided on a secondary or excess basis.  All vehicles used in Scouting activities must be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that meet or exceed the requirements of the state in which the vehicle is licensed.  All boats/vessels used in Scouting must be insured by the owner for liability exposures.  The amount of coverage is determined by the size and usage of the boat.  $1 million is recommended.
Chartered organizations do not need a certificate of insurance.  The chartered organization endorsement is a part of the insurance policy contract and is enforceable under the policy contract. 

What about the Troop's trailer?

Following is a reprint from Scouting magazine.

Other Scout units may be experiencing the same problem our troop is having with equipment insurance.  When about $2,000 worth of tents, cook kits, and a first aid kit was stolen, the insurance carrier for our chartered organization delayed payment, saying the equipment is owned by the BSA and not the chartered organization.
We are confident this will be resolved, but in the meantime, I offer the following advice to other troops; carefully check your chartered organizations insurance to avoid the problem we are having.
And do an equipment survey annually to keep the insurance carrier on notice of the property under coverage.  About five years ago, we notified the carrier that troop equipment was part of property covered by the policy.  However, we did not submit a complete inventory of our equipment at that time, and now when a claim is submitted, payment can be painfully slow or none made at all.

Tim Millington
Committee Chairman, Troop 346
San Antonio, Tex.

Debra C. Griffith, director of BSA Insurance and Risk Management, responds:

A Scout troop or Cub Scout pack is usually an unincorporated association, not a legal entity that can bear title to property.  The chartered organization owns the unit and has responsibility for selecting leadership and operating it within the Scouting program.  All property and funds used by the troop or pack remain the responsibility of the organization as long as the charter issued by the BSA remains in place.

I like your idea of providing the insurance carrier with a complete annual inventory.  Clarifying property ownership prior to a claim being made should result in more expedient claims handling.

Secondary Council Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan

The Greater St. Louis Area Council provides secondary Accident and Sickness Insurance for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Learning for Life Explorers, and adult volunteer leaders registered in the Council, and covers them for accidents and sickness (as well as accidental death and dismemberment) while participating in any official Scouting activity or Learning for Life Exploring activity.  The Council purchases this coverage annually from Health Special Risk.

Benefits are excess of any other insurance covering the individual.  Accident medical benefits are limited to $15,000; sickness to $7,500; ambulance to $6,000.

When seeking medical care, it is important to remember that the patient or the patient’s parents are to be recorded as the responsible party, not the Boy Scouts.  Also remember to keep copies of all documents, including bills, receipts, diagnoses, and insurance advice.

Begin any claim by calling the Council service center.  Call the Council service center any time to get a brochure with more information on coverage, limits, etc., or a copy of Health Special Risk’s Memorandum of Coverage (required for out-of-Council resident camps).

Please report all serious incidents, accidents, sicknesses, or if a summons is served on a volunteer, to the Council Service Center immediately.

Call (314) 361-0600 or (800) 392-0895 and ask for Risk Management & Insurance if you have a question related to insurance.

Unauthorized and Restricted Activities

The Boy Scouts of America general liability policy provides coverage for a bodily injury or property damage claim that is made and arises out of an Official Scouting Activity.  The Guide to Safe Scouting contains a listing of Unauthorized and Restricted Activities.  Unauthorized activities are not considered Official Scouting Activities.  Volunteers (registered and unregistered), Units, Chartered Organizations and Local Councils are jeopardizing insurance coverage for themselves and their organization by engaging in unauthorized activities.  PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT RISK.