* These guidelines are for non-college-sponsored camps only, i.e., camps that are run by third parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of insurance will my camp need, and how much (what limits of liability)?
All of our colleges require that the camp operator or entity (the Camp) carries certain necessary minimum coverage with appropriate limits and necessary endorsements as set forth in our contracts. We check the credentials of the Camp’s insurance carrier, and require that we be named as an Additional Insured on the Camp’s policy. The Camp will need (1) general liability; (2) auto; (3) workers’ compensation and employers’ liability; and (4) directors and officers’ liability insurance. Excess insurance may also be required of some camps (5). You may also want (or be required by your general liability insurer) to provide campers accident and illness insurance (6).
(1) The Camp’s general liability policy must cover more than just premises liability. We expect (and you need) broad form coverage including damage to premises. Be aware of definitions and any exclusions in the policy – both of these sections are designed to limit coverage; in particular, be sure there is no exclusion for sexual abuse/molestation (see more below). The general liability policy should cover the Camp’s liability for claims that arise from activities sponsored by the Camp but conducted on premises that are not owned by the insured. The colleges’ minimum limits for primary general liability for Camp operators are $1 million; additional limits (5) may be required if your Camp has high-hazard activities, e.g. gymnastics.
(2) If the Camp owns any autos, auto liability insurance with limits of $1 million is required. If the camp operator does not own any autos, but uses personal vehicles or rents vehicles, it should carry non-owned and hired auto liability with the same limits. This coverage is typically very inexpensive.
(3) If the Camp has any employees it is required to carry workers compensationinsurance. MA laws do not permit someone who works for a camp as a counselor or in any direct employment capacity to be classified as an independent contractor. Limits are statutory. Employer’s liability is also provided with workers compensation insurance, and the colleges require limits of $1MM/$1MM/$1MM. Employers liabilityinsurance provides the protection that you need to meet your contractual obligations with the college to indemnify the college for any bodily injury claims your employees may bring against the college for a work-related injury sustained on their premises. Only day camps or sports clinics that are run by a single coach or partners will not need this insurance.
(4) Directors and Officers Liability insurance will protect the Camp from claims arising out of wrongful acts, including employment acts, discrimination, wrongful arrest, etc. The College does not specify required limits for this coverage, but strongly recommends $1M in limits. There are relatively new errors and omissions policies available for camps that include entity coverage and employment practices. If not prohibitively expensive, such policies are worthwhile; if you have such coverage the college must be named as an Additional Insured. The Camp should be sure that their insurance company understands the liabilities associated with camps. If it is a commercial carrier, check its rating with a service such as A.M. Best. The carrier should have at least a B+/V rating.
(5) Excess liability is strongly recommended but may not be required (check your contract with the College). The Camp should also carry umbrella coverage with minimum limits of $3 million to $5 million. Be sure the policy is an occurrence rather than a claims-made policy. This coverage is also excess of auto insurance which may be a significant exposure – picture a van accident with 6 children severely injured – will your $1M auto policy cover it? Probably not.
(6) Camper Accident and Illness Insurance will respond if a camper hurts him or herself while participating in your camp activities or becomes ill while attending your program. Coverage can be purchased for as little as $12/week (which can be passed onto the participants) that will cover emergency room expenses and other related medical expenses. Typically these policies have a very low limit ($10,000 or so). This coverage should be purchased especially if your GL policy does not cover or excludes program participants from its emergency medical expense section of coverage.
This section is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as broker or underwriting information. Speak with your agent or insure for all insurance specifics.
Where can I get insurance?
General liability, Auto liability and Workers Compensation insurance are often packaged together, and may be cheaper when purchased in a package. Directors and Officers may also be available from the same company. Camper Accident & Illness Insurance will usually have to be purchased from a separate insurance company, though your broker or agent may be able to place all lines on your behalf.
If you are already running a business, check with your own insurance agent.
If this is a new venture for you, Bene-Marc Inc. is an agency that specializes in camp insurance. They also manage the URMIA Camps Program, which can provide GL and Camper Accident and Illness coverage very inexpensively (they have to be purchased as a package), and is an excellent product for camps and clinics that have no employees. Our Colleges will accept the URMIA Camps Program insurance for GL coverage, as long as you have the other insurance coverages that are required. Markel Insurance Co. is a specialty insurance company that features many specialty and camp products.
Gallagher/Koster Insurance Services has been providing Camper Accident and Illness coverage to many of our college-sponsored programs.
Google is also a very handy resource for locating specialty insurance companies.
This section is provided for general information purposes only. Five Colleges Inc. does not endorse any broker or insurance company, and we recommend checking with multiple sources for coverage.
Do I have to have Sexual Molestation Insurance and a Sexual Molestation Prevention Program?
The colleges may or may not mandate Sexual Molestation Insurance in your contract; however for any program that involves children under the age of 16, it is an essential element for your program. You (the Camp’s Owner/ or officers) can be held personally liable for any harm that one of your employees or other campers cause to a program participant. It can also defend you and the employee in cases of false accusations.
Whether or not you carry insurance, a Sexual Molestation Prevention Program is required by the Colleges. As an educator of young people, their safety and well-being should always be your first concern. It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys are molested at some point before the age of 18; the vast majority of molestations (over 90%) are by someone the child knows. Some insurers will require you to have a molestation prevention program and can offer good materials in setting up such a program.
Neither Five College Risk Management nor the college where you are holding your camp can assist you in setting up your program or implementing it. The Five College Risk Manager can share "best practices" published by our underwriters with you if you are using our facilities, however we strongly recommend that you work with your attorney to create a program that works best for your organization.
What compliance issues do I have to be concerned about?
MA Department of Sanitation closely regulates all recreational summer camps for minors. You must be in compliance with all their regulations. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations and be in compliance with them at all times. State health inspectors can inspect your program at any time without notice, and have the authority to shut you down if you are not in compliance.
Note: Massachusetts requires CORI/SORI (Criminal Offender Records Information/Sexual Offender Records Information) checks on all employees, including teenagers, working for your Camp. This should also be integral to your Sexual Molestation Prevention Program. You should also consider checking other types of references in the hiring process, as it is estimated that only 3% of sexual offenders are apprehended/convicted.
Check with your attorney or business advisor on other regulations pertaining to general business activities, including employment, taxation, transportation, and any special issues pertinent to your activities.
How does security get handled?
Unless you have made specific arrangements with the college to provide extra security for your program, the college will be providing the same level of security as it does on a year round basis. Your Camp needs to take responsibility for ensuring that no doors are propped open and that you know where your campers are at all times. You are also responsible for your own Emergency Response Plan, which should be coordinated with the College’s public safety staff.