Re: community_garden digest, Vol 1 #1672 - 4 msgs
- Subject: [cg] Re: community_garden digest, Vol 1 #1672 - 4 msgs
- From: Commgarden@aol.com
- Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 03:23:57 EST
In a message dated 2/12/04 11:31:14 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> Message: 4
> Reply-To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> From: "Jack Hale" <email@example.com>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Cc: "Joyce Wisdom" <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: RE: [cg] Liability Insurance
> Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 17:51:04 -0500
> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
> Content-Type: text/plain;
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Here's my old article about insurance for gardens. It's still pretty much
> Jack Hale
> Insurance for community gardens
> For several years, the board of the American Community Gardening
> has been working to provide liability insurance for member gardens.
> of members suggested that obtaining such insurance was a priority for many
> gardens. We did provide access to coverage during 1998, but less than a
> dozen gardens took advantage of the offer. In 1999, the insurance company
> was unwilling to renew the coverage, and we were unable to find another
> carrier. Although we have continued to seek a carrier, we continue to be
> unsuccessful. While the search continues, here is what I have been telling
> members who are seeking insurance.
> 1. Liability insurance protects the organization that owns
> it or some other entity (like a land owner) who is "named as additional
> insured" on the policy. It protects gardeners or volunteers indirectly
> if the insured organization stands between them and a potential lawsuit.
> does not protect individuals from legal action, nor does it necessarily pay
> individuals for injuries or damage that occur at a garden. Most gardens
> have insurance because they have an organization to protect or because some
> other entity requires coverage in order for the garden to exist.
> 2. Usually, individual gardens seeking liability coverage
> will pay a high price. Just as group health insurance is much less
> expensive than individual coverage, insurance purchased by a larger
> organization to cover a multitude of risks will be less expensive per
> coverage than the same insurance purchased piecemeal. Therefore, if you
> a single garden suffering from sticker shock, the best avenue may be to ask
> a larger organization that already has liability coverage to sponsor the
> garden. Such organizations might include community groups, churches,
> horticultural/agricultural organizations, or anything else that might work
> in your locale.
> 3. Often it is a city or town providing land for a garden
> that is requesting insurance. They usually have a "risk manager" whose job
> is to protect the municipality against all risk. Whenever the town enters
> into a relationship, that relationship is passed before the risk manager,
> and the risk manager almost always says "buy insurance" to protect the
> But towns always have lots of insurance. They engage in lots of risky
> business. Adding a community garden to their list of risks will have
> no impact on their overall risk and on the cost of their insurance. It
> becomes a political issue and should be treated as such. If the town wants
> to support community gardening, the risk is trivial; if the town doesn't
> want to support community gardening, it is easier to say "buy insurance"
> than "we don't like you."
> A side issue that arises in some cases is whether the gardens are public.
> In Berkeley, California, the city wanted to require insurance and also
> require that the gardens be open to the public. People who don't want to
> support gardens compare them to parks that are ostensibly open to everybody
> all the time. They point out that community gardens have fences and gates
> and private plots. More politics. Perhaps compare your garden to a
> football stadium. Very risky activity going on there, and fully supported
> by the town! Anybody can go and watch when there is a game on, but hardly
> anybody gets to play. Which is more exclusive, a garden or a sports field?
> Remember that anybody can walk by and look at the garden. You might even
> schedule some times when the garden is open for public enjoyment. This
> suggest, however, that gardeners need to design and maintain their gardens
> in ways that truly do enhance their neighborhoods.
> 4. Insurance is a local business, governed to some extent
> by state law and regulation. Although there is a certain amount of
> uniformity and insurance companies operate across state lines, your
> experience with coverages and costs may be quite different from those in a
> neighboring state. If you have to buy insurance, a creative and responsive
> local agent can be very important. Remember that there is a good chance
> they haven't insured a garden before and they will have to figure out how
> do it. Here in Connecticut, we started out with an insurance agent who
> decided gardens were like vacant lots, which tend to attract inappropriate
> uses. Premiums were based on street frontage and they were high.
> enough, our largest garden, which had no street frontage, was insured for
> nothing, while one of our smaller gardens on a corner lot carried a high
> premium. Our current agent, which specializes in insurance for non-profit
> social service organizations, decided gardens were like social service
> programs and did a more general analysis of risk. Our premiums are now
> quite low.
> 5. If gardeners or garden officers are concerned about
> personal risk (i.e.-potential for being sued as individuals due to their
> involvement in a garden), the best solution is probably "umbrella
> People can usually obtain this for a relatively small premium as an add-on
> to homeowner's or renter's insurance. Talk to your agent.
> 6. I am not an expert on insurance. Don't take this as
> professional advice from me or from the American Community Gardening
> Association. At best, this is an indication of insurance issues as they
> have been faced by community gardens throughout the U.S. (not much info on
> Canada). You need to work out your own local situation. I will attempt
> to respond to questions about the information provided here and specific
> insurance issues.
> Jack N. Hale
> Executive Director
> Knox Parks Foundation
> 75 Laurel Street
> Hartford, CT 06106
> f 860/951-7244
> email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Now, about some of your questions.
> Note item 1 above. You can place a lot of constraints on use of the
> gardens, and some of them might have minor impact on premiums, but at $125
> per garden, you are primarily paying for paperwork. There is very little
> risk to start with. My organization has been running gardens for over 30
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