Non-profit organizations (NPOs) provide a helping hand to individuals in need and enrich the communities in which they serve. Youth sports leagues, senior recreation centers, churches, community theaters, museums, and historical societies touch the lives of so many while asking for little in return. This selfless service, however, does not mean they are immune to liability risks similar to for-profit businesses. While their focus isn’t on making a financial profit, NPOs are still often complex organizations with property, employees, equipment, board of directors, and exposures.

The YMCA is perhaps one of the most recognized NPO in the United States serving 9 million youth and 13 million adults across the country each year at its more than 2,700 locations run by 19,000 full-time employees and 600,000 volunteers (YMCA of the USA, 2016). With assets and payrolls similar to for-profit businesses, NPOs both big and small benefit from many of the same insurance coverages, including general liability, property, professional liability, directors and officers, employment practices, and inland marine.

Given the shoestring budget of many NPOs, one broken wrist, stolen sports equipment, or fire could spell disaster for a charity without proper GL coverage. That’s why it’s important for NPOs to resist the urge to skimp on insurance – saving a few hundred dollars on premiums today could have disastrous results down the road. Accidents and injuries account for 90 percent of reported claims by NPOs, so even if an organization doesn’t have a physical location of its own, it is still liable for injury or damages brought forth by either its associates or third party claims (Davis, 2008).

While nearly all claims are of the slip-and-fall variety, the costliest claims are wrongful termination lawsuits which allege the NPO’s board of directors permitted such action. This is why Directors’ and Officers’ liability insurance (D&O) is an essential for NPOs. If a civil suit was filed, D&O insurance can often protect individual board members as well as the employees, volunteers, and the NPO itself. The Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group reports that the average D&O claim costs $35,000 to resolve, and one in ten claims will cost more than $100,000 to resolve (Davis, 2008).

General Liability and Directors and Officers insurance are the core coverage for NPOs, and based on the organization’s services and structure, additional coverages may also be necessary to manage risks. Atlantic Specialty Lines can help agents identify the most prudent coverage options for NPOs that are affordable today while protecting them from potential losses in the future.



Davis, P. (2008). A board member’s guide to nonprofit insurance. Blue Avocado: A Magazine of American Nonprofits. Retrieved from

YMCA of the USA. (2016). Organizational profile: Facts & Figures. Retrieved from