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The "101" Department: Risky Business

Finding insurance can be tough for shelters and rescue groups, but here’s how to convince companies that you’re a safe bet

A dog you’ve adopted out bites a child a few weeks later.

A customer slips and falls on a wet floor in your building.

A volunteer transporting a pet to a nursing home to visit residents has a car accident, and the other driver is hurt.

Any of these situations, if it were to result in a lawsuit, could lead to the financial crippling of an animal shelter or rescue group—and the end of its mission.

That’s where insurance comes in.

“Our job is to make sure when these things go wrong—because they will, no matter what—that the organization has proper insurance to protect itself, to make sure that it doesn’t bankrupt itself by defending a case or paying a settlement out of pocket,” says Craig Sherman, a partner at Prince Associates Inc., an insurance brokerage in Hicksville, N.Y., that offers a program for insuring animal welfare organizations. (Prince Associates doesn’t actually hold the policies, but helps shelters find coverage.) “The insurance pays for the settlements, for the claim payments, for the injuries or property damage to others, and the goal is for the organization to transfer that risk, that possible monetary loss, to the insurance policy.”

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