Volunteering is an Australian tradition. Helping out your mates and being there for each other, especially in times of crisis, is part of our culture and way of life. Like most Australians I have been following the bushfires and have witnessed incredible bravery and sacrifice from volunteers across the country.
They respond because they care about their communities. My own personal experience was, a giant pine tree crashing into my home causing severe damage. This was the result of a freak storm just before Christmas, the first responders were my local State Emergency Services brigade. Calm, cheerful and reassuring, just great and capable people.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, you can be in a traditionally low-risk job by day and ‘after hours’ fighting fires, responding to storm damage, or helping flood affected communities. So how does this impact insurance, and are you covered if you undertake volunteering?
The role of the underwriter is to protect the pool of insured lives at his or her company. So, when deciding whether we should cover such risks, we consider:
- What is the exposure – how many volunteers of many persuasions (SES, RFS, CFA, Army reserve etc) are there in Australia compared to the population?
- And what about the time they spend in the more hazardous volunteer job compared to their usual job? This is a part time role – so we have butchers, bakers and candlestick makers in day jobs and volunteering is their ‘after hours’ role.
- What is the incidence? Of the many people who volunteer for a range of community service tasks – how many are unfortunately killed or injured in those roles compared to their ‘civilian’ job?
- And taking all that into consideration, would this incidence have a marked and abnormal effect on the pool of lives insured? That is, are we letting in lives who present a greatly increased risk compared to the average?
So, at Integrity, like a good many other life companies, we cover all our insured customers when they are acting as volunteers in any capacity. Whether you’re directly involved or providing support like food and resources to the front line you’re covered. If you’re not with Integrity Life, you should check that you are covered as there may be an exclusion. If any clients have any doubts and would like our reassurance, please direct them to this article, or we are happy to write to them and confirm their cover.
At the end of the day, our position is; with volunteering being so prevalent, it should be considered part of the experience of the pool of insureds and have no effect on the pool, so we insure our clients even when they’re volunteering.