We recently found someone who likes to geek out on the intricacies of fiscal sponsorship as much as we do! 

Colleen Lazanich, CEO CalNonprofits Insurance Services

And that someone is Colleen Lazanich, CEO of CalNonprofits Insurance Services (right), which offers a full range of employee benefit and general liability coverages and provides exclusive nonprofit insurance programs.

In the second part of the discussion, we focus on projects separating from their sponsors, what it’s like for them to get their first insurance policy, and how they can stay on top of their risk management. (You can find the first post, which focuses on the insurance issues and pitfalls for fiscal sponsors – and how they can better manage their risk, here.)

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Schulman Consulting: Can you talk about some of the issues you see with these orgs re: getting insurance? (They are new in the eyes of the carriers but they are already going concerns, usually with payroll employees and 6- and 7-figure budgets)

Colleen Lazanich: Most but not all carriers will write new start up nonprofits. They have different requirements such as some will require a business plan, others want to see their budget and resumes of the principals, and others will just write them but maybe charge a little bit more. If they have been a project under a sponsor – sometimes you can get a statement from the carrier they were insured under the sponsor’s policy and had no claims.

SC: Do you have any suggestions for leaders of new orgs who are in the process of securing insurance for the first time?

CL: Shop for a broker before you ever shop for a policy! Find a good broker that really understands nonprofits! So often, they undertake the shopping of insurance by going to multiple agencies and getting quotes but they don’t often know the right questions to ask. A good broker will be your advisor and will help you make the best decisions that fit your budget. Sometimes nonprofits have to choose to not insure something in the beginning but they should make that decision with their eyes wide open. It is not a decision they can make by themselves unless they are very insurance savvy.

SC: Beyond insurance, how can nonprofit orgs in this situation plan for and manage risk on an ongoing basis?

CL: Education! Read about nonprofit risk, learn about nonprofit risk, find a risk champion in the organization, subscribe to nonprofit risk newsletters and utilize the resources that are offered by their insurance carriers and broker. You can’t manage it if you don’t understand it.

For more from Colleen on fiscal sponsorship, please click over to her recent blog post on the subject.

And if you have additional questions for Colleen, please post them here and we’ll do our best to have her answer them.

Geeking Out on Insurance for Separating Projects with Colleen Lazanich

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