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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, 
community_garden-admin@mallorn.com writes:

>  Message: 4
>  Reply-To: <jackh@knoxparks.org>
>  From: "Jack Hale" <jackh@knoxparks.org>
>  To: <community_garden@mallorn.com>
>  Cc: "Joyce Wisdom" <jwisdom@greeninstitute.org>, <jvrbymia@frontiernet.net>
>  Subject: RE: [cg] Liability Insurance
>  Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 17:51:04 -0500
>  boundary="----=_NextPart_000_002F_01C3EFFE.7447A590"
>  This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
>  ------=_NextPart_000_002F_01C3EFFE.7447A590
>  Content-Type: text/plain;
>   charset="us-ascii"
>  Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>  Here's my old article about insurance for gardens.  It's still pretty much
>  true.
>  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
>  860/951-7694
>  f 860/951-7244
>  jackh@knoxparks.org <mailto:jackh@knoxparks.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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