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The need for personal liability insurance

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I have been carrying an umbrella liability policy for almost 30 years.  I don't know what BSA would do, but my assumption is their lawyers would do all in their power to find some infraction of BSA policy (or even BSA recommendations) to shed the liability to someone else.  My insurance company's lawyers would probably be doing the same to avoid paying the claim.  It's what insurance company lawyers are paid to do.  Call me paranoid...but I have been able to sleep at night.  It's relatively cheap insurance.

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18 minutes ago, Setonfan said:

Is anyone aware of a time the BSA shifted liability to an individual leader? 

They have not. And I have never heard of them shirking away from their promise. But, they will ask that the victim to use their personal insurance first. I did carry additional insurance when I was a SM because two parents threatened me with law suits. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

The parents backed off when they heard both sides of their son's story. If that is how parents react to youth organization volunteers, I can't imagine what my high school teacher kids hear from their parents.


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With my experience with BSA, I don't trust them enough to lay confidence they would cover someone in the event of a serious issue coming up. At least I would never put myself in the position of finding out bad things the hard way when I should have sided on being cautious. I believe comments before are right, BSA might try to get you or the CO to cover first on your insurance and then back you up unless their lawyers could find some detail to be a reason to not cover you.

I witnessed a serious event in my community involving another church and one of their volunteers late in my scoutmastership. A teenage female student accused a female volunteer music teacher of sexual misconduct, when in fact, the teenage "victim had made inapproprate advances toward the volunteer teacher which she rebuffed and reported. The teenager made false accusations against the volunteer teacher in retaliation. The result was financial ruin for the volunteer teacher and her husband, lost their house and everything. It went to county court and entire case was dropped, false charges and unsubstantiated but the damage was done. No recourse for the teenage accuser as she and her family had all moved overseas since. 

I was near the end of my term as scoutmaster and this was one of the final straws, no way was I going to put myself in something I could be liable for and damaged and I am not going to pay for insurance to protect myself volunteering. I will in no way volunteer ever again in any fashion involving youth and their parents, it just isn't worth the exposure to trouble.

In my years in the Fire dept, I stuck with being a fireman, not on the Med side, the more Med training you take the more you open yourself to possible frivolous lawsuits, the house fire or car wreck however will not sue you.

The national wildfire network suffered serious problems about a decade back when lawsuits and possible prison time reared it's head on a few incident commanders on a few wildfire incidents. The result was about a 40% drop in qualified IC's taking assignments, others took early retirements, took lesser jobs, discontinued advancement and training or found other jobsd out of that field. Many who stayed ended up taking out personal liability policies to cover them for the act of doing their jobs.

Paying insurance premiums so I can volunteer my time is not something I would ever do.




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