‘That’s What Insurance Is For’: Why More Insurers Should Emulate the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance

Oak Grove Center views Nonprofits Insurance Alliance as a trusted insurance partner and a wealth of resources.
By: | February 1, 2023
Topics: Nonprofit

A nonprofit organization’s quest to find affordable and adequate commercial insurance coverage can be a challenge, which is why Nonprofits Insurance Alliance (NIA) was founded.

In this seriesRisk & Insurance®, in collaboration with NIA, spoke to five nonprofit organizations, all with unusual risk profiles and inspiring stories, to parse the hurdles that accompany securing necessary coverage at an acceptable price.

In our last installment of the series, we sat down with Tammy Wilson, the CEO of Oak Grove Center.

Meet Oak Grove Center

The Oak Grove Center, based in Palm Springs, California, was conceived as a 76-bed residential treatment center in 1989. Since then, the organization has expanded its reach by providing an on-site school, an autism program and a satellite campus in Paris, California. The organization’s newest addition is “a traditional housing six-bed program for LGBTQ+ young adults,” according to Wilson.

In addition to its own services, Oak Grove Center acts as a contract provider within Riverside County to help foster youth acquire life skills.

In learning about the organization’s services, it’s clear that providing quality care and promoting safety are two of its top initiatives. But what about the risks that encompass its work?

For starters, the presence of a residential treatment center creates a slew of exposures. This includes the risks of youth hurting staff or themselves and the potential for sexual abuse to transpire. Additionally, the pandemic created new and unforeseen risks that included mental health challenges and exposure to the virus.

Wilson acknowledged that, at times, children will “have been victims of trauma or abuse,” which heightens the risk of danger.

An additional risk is automobile claims, as the organization buses youth who don’t live in the residential center to school.

Securing Insurance with NIA

Wilson became more familiar with the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance and its team as she climbed the ranks of Oak Grove Center and eventually became CEO. Not only has the organization been able to successfully find its vital insurance coverages, but it’s received much more than that.

“What many people don’t realize is the additional benefits, besides coverage, that were provided [by NIA],” Wilson said.

These types of benefits include various trainings for the organization as well as consultations with risk managers. Wilson said that this offering has been especially useful.

“I’ve been able to consult with risk managers about staff situations,” she said. “[We have] a large company, and with that many staff, you can have issues. It’s nice to know I can candidly run a scenario by employment and risk managers who are experts in their own field. [They’ve] never led me astray.”

It’s the benefits and resources that NIA provides that made Wilson switch back to the insurer after a previous broker took the organization to a new carrier.

In 2007, Oak Grove Center’s previous broker switched the organization to a new provider, which it remained with until 2011. Wilson recalled there were stark differences between providers, the availability of NIA resources being one of the most relevant. Ultimately, the organization partnered with a new broker and rekindled its partnership with NIA.

And Oak Grove Center’s partnership with the Alliance has enabled the organization to grow and expand its reach. NIA has also been there for the organization in difficult times.

Wilson recalled an instance when the organization had completed construction of a recreational gym on Oak Grove Center’s campus. Because the price tag on construction was so large, there was much work to be done when it came to fundraising as well. Unfortunately, Palm Springs suffered a sewer backup that led to flooding in the new gym.

“All the carpet on the lower level [of the gym] had to be replaced,” Wilson said.

Through this disappointing and stressful situation, Wilson recalls, NIA was “understanding and supportive” — a helping hand that never wavered.

“We never had pushback, especially about those unfortunate [situations] that are outside of your control,” Wilson said. “That’s what insurance is for.” &

Emma Brenner is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].

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