Re: Board Liability Insurance
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 11:41:37 -0800 (PST)
Having liability insurance saved our Songaia cohousing community a LOT of
money when we were (unsuccessfully) sued.

All of our members are on the Board of Directors... so every other member of
the community was sued by a disgruntled former member - our membership and
insurance company saw the suit as frivolous, but it sure consumed a lot of
time/money. Our insurance company paid all the legal fees for about 3 years...
including attending many meetings, taking depositions, writing briefs, etc,
etc, etc.. If I recall correctly, the total cost for that added coverage was
about $200 per year on top of our general insurance policy (many thousands
of dollars).

Our community would not consider waiving this coverage... we believe it
saved us tens of thousands of dollars.

Like Sharingwood, where Rob Sandelin lives, Songaia is in Washington state;
in fact, we're the cohousing community closest to Sharingwood.

I'm really surprised by the data he shares about the non-profit board
lawsuit frequencies. I don't believe that ours was one of just 2 cases since
1980. I suspect the quick look Rob's nephew did must have missed a numbers
of cases, as our lawyers told of us multiple condominium board suits which
they alone had handled... and Washington has quite a few law firms.

On 2/14/06, Linda Merrill <madmerrill [at]> wrote:
> Greetings!  I am part of Arboretum Cohousing, an exciting new cohousing
> group in Madison, WI.  We have had a discussion about the need for our Board
> of Directors to have liability insurance.  WI has good protective laws
> regarding boards of private nonprofits.  Many of us feel we don't need
> it.  What pathe have other organizations followed?  Any thoughts?

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