Thinking about insurance for your nonprofit

  • Urbond is a not-for-profit organisation based in Portsmouth, which seeks to promote community cohesion
  • Urbond’s chairman, Ousmane Drame, and vice-chairman, Kwame Kyere, discuss how the organisation is evolving, and its ambitions for the future
  • They also discuss their organisation’s approach to risk and insurance

Urbond was established in Portsmouth in 2013, with the aim of helping people in the local community – of all beliefs, ideologies, ethnicities and backgrounds – to make friends and integrate with one another. In 2015, it was registered as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC).

How Urbond achieves its goals

Urbond runs a regular programme of events at the Charles Dickens Centre, which is owned by Portsmouth City Council.

These include quizzes, games and days out, and sporting activities, including football and volleyball. “Sport is very important to us,” says Ousmane, “because it has no language. It’s a great way of breaking down barriers.”

Urbond also fundraises every year for a different local charity.

Risk assessment and management

One of the key risks for Urbond to manage is event safety. While members of its football and volleyball teams are insured separately through Sport England, Urbond is responsible for all the evening events it hosts at the Charles Dickens Centre.

“Our main concern is the health and safety of our volunteers and the individuals who attend our events,” says Kwame. “We do our own catering on site, so food safety and hygiene is very important. We also have to be aware of any spillages that could lead to trips and slips.”

Ousmane adds: “We do a risk assessment on the afternoon before each event. We look at every aspect of health and safety – checking that the chairs are in good condition, the floors are safe and so on.”

Insurance considerations

Zurich provides Urbond with public liability cover, which includes events up to 500 attendees, as well as personal accident cover.

Ousmane says: “Urbond is a growing organisation. When we started, we only ran one event. As the years have passed, we’ve added more activities.

“We have a weekly committee members’ meeting, during which we discuss any new activities we are introducing, and any insurance requirements they might lead to.

“If we are ever unsure, we always call Zurich to double-check if we are covered. We really value their expertise, because we haven’t got time as committee members to become insurance experts.”

Future ambitions

When Urbond was established in 2013, it set a clear focus for the next five years on building community cohesion within Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. Now, however, the organisation has wider ambitions.

“We are looking to expand our reach internationally,” says Ousmane. “We don’t yet have fully-formed ideas on what this will involve, but one thing we are looking at is distributing items, such as clothes, toys and books, to somewhere overseas where they will really be appreciated. We receive a lot of donations of unwanted items from people who attend our events, particularly around Christmas time.

“In the future, we may also want to establish branches of Urbond in other countries. Financially, we’re not yet ready to do that. However, if we do reach the point where we are ready to expand, one of the first things we will do is pick up the phone to Zurich.”

A relationship built on trust and support

Ousmane says: “What we’ve really valued about our relationship with Zurich is that there is always somebody we can talk to – whether we have a general query, or are introducing a new activity that might need to be covered.

“When it comes to renewal, Zurich are very thorough in making sure we have cover that matches our needs, and in explaining what we would need to do if we had to make a claim.

“I can’t praise Zurich highly enough,” he adds. “They have been so supportive of our organisation.”

Making buying insurance simple

Our new guide – 10 questions to make buying insurance simple – shares useful tips on what you should consider when choosing insurance for your organisation. It covers everything from protecting volunteers, trustees and members of the public, to what cover you might need if you are responsible for premises you hire out. It asks ten questions about your organisation to help you think about risk and protection when you are arranging insurance for your not-for-profit.