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Smaller premiums for the big society

Article by Simon Christopher
Posted: 23/7/2010 - Last updated: -
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Voluntary groups could get low-cost insurance as part of the government's "Big Society" campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants to work with the insurance industry to offer dedicated cover to community groups which use volunteers. If his idea is taken up by the industry, groups could get public liability insurance for as little as £5 to £10 a month, which would then cover volunteers against being sued in the event of an accident which injured a member of the public.

The Association of British Insurers says it is ready to discuss any ideas from the government.

There are some big questions about how such a plan would work in practice. Most significantly, it's not clear whether the government will offer any subsidies to insurers to encourage them to offer such policies at those rates.

Other questions yet to be answered include whether there'll be a limit on the number of volunteers covered by one policy (and if so, what it will be) and whether the tradeoff for low premiums will be a reduced liability limit.

The insurance issue has already come up in some local schemes. Hackney's local authority has insisted volunteers working in parks bought their own liability insurance, but has now agreed to buy the policy itself in return for the volunteers putting in extra hours elsewhere.



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