Thursday, March 8, 2012


"The Boy Scouts of America general liability policy provides coverage for a bodily injury or property damage claim that is made and arises out of an Official Scouting Activity. The Guide to Safe Scouting contains a listing of Unauthorized and Restricted Activities. Unauthorized activities are not considered Official Scouting Activities. Volunteers (registered and unregistered), Units, Chartered Organizations and Local Councils are jeopardizing insurance coverage for themselves and their organization by engaging in unauthorized activities. PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT RISK."

"The general liability policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability arising out of their chartering a traditional Scouting unit. Automobile and maritime liability coverage is provided on a secondary or excess basis. All vehicles used in Scouting activities must be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that meet or exceed the requirements of the state in which the vehicle is licensed (emphasis added)."1

So, BSA insurance is secondary to YOUR personal coverage (your car, boat, personal watercraft, airplane, skateboard...). For non-BSA-owned vehicles, the primary (individual) insurance will get hit first if there's a problem when used for an official activity, but transportation to/from an activity is NOT an Official Scouting Activity.2
As for the LDS Church side of the insurance equation, it is also secondary3 to your own insurance:  "Where...coverage is available, members are responsible to access all available benefits provided through it if they incur an injury during a Church activity."4

With that in mind, why skip the planning paperwork or do a non-GTSS-approved "priesthood quorum" adventure/activity in the name of fun and excitement, and forgo the protections of BSA insurance?  If the youth really want to go paintballing or Ski-Dooing, that's a great time to talk about "Choice and Accountability" (also known as risk management and cost/benefit analysis); it's usually better to discuss "why not" than to just say "no".

Chapter and Verse:
1 BSA insurance coverage
2 Tour Plan FAQs
3 ABCs of Church Activity Medical Assistance (pdf) at
4 Safety in Church Activities


Brian Reyman said...

Great reminder on the importance of following the BSA (and church) policies as it relates to activities and the related insurance. The Church Handbook (in the Activities section) also notes that "Where possible, those who oversee activities should protect themselves by carrying reasonable amounts of liability insurance."

This especially applies to Scouting given the sheer number of activities we hold. I recently took out a large umbrella policy, which covers liability for me and my family - all for a pretty reasonable annual cost. It's worth every penny.

Allen said...

I think your comment on travel to and from an activity is too broad. Travel absolutely can be part of an official scouting activity. The FAQs mention a case where parents won't provide their insurance information because they are only transporting their own kids. In that case, they are essentially dropping off their own kids to the site of the Scouting activity. No secondary coverage.

Meanwhile, if the rest of the patrol was dropped off by their parents at the church, and the Troop Committee then drives them up, then those vehicles are being used for an official Scouting activity, and the secondary liability coverage from the BSA kicks in. But your point is absolutely sound. Why would any adult leader deliberately go outside the G2SS and expose himself, the bishop (as the one who would approve the activity) and the Church to potential liability?