In some instances, charitable immunity laws can offer valuable protection to volunteer ministry workers; however, they do not offer the broad immunity from litigation that many may think.
Although a few states offer broader protection to volunteer ministry workers, most state laws provide either very limited charitable immunity protection or no protection at all.
The federal government enacted the Volunteer Protection Act in 1997, offering volunteers in every state some protection from litigation. Many of the limitations list above also are present in the federal act and significantly dilute the potential protection of ministry volunteers that the act provides.
Most liability coverages protect not only the ministry organization, but also its employees and volunteers. By purchasing insurance, the ministry can help “fill the gaps” associated with charitable immunity laws, and thereby keep volunteers from having to pay for covered defense costs and court awards out of their own pocket.
If you’re uncertain about the protection that ministry volunteers have in your state, ask a local attorney to review the applicable state and federal charitable immunity laws with you. For more information on this topic, read "How Helpful Are Charitable Immunity Laws?"
*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.
The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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