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Home » Business for Good » Ensuring – and Insuring – Nonprofit Survival in the Face of Disaster

When natural disasters destroy property and threaten lives, nonprofits are often among the victims. Insurance helps them continue to help others.

Disasters like the recent California wildfires are devastating — the cost is estimated to be close to $20 billion. The impact disaster has on nonprofit organizations often spells doom.

“In a matter of hours our physical assets were burned to the ground,” says Bob Irvine, executive director of California Vocations, Inc., which provides services for developmentally disabled adults. “The only thing left standing was the cinder block thrift store.”

Ensuring survival

“We were a whisker away of losing the company,” Irvine says. “We could not have done this without the support of the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance (NIA) and our insurance agents.”

“Nonprofits are particularly challenged in a large-scale disaster,” says Dave Gibson, chief claims officer at the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance. “Many nonprofits care for vulnerable populations, and delays imperil survival.”

The right partner

That means that nonprofits need an insurance partner that responds quickly in a crisis.

“NIA’s sole purpose is to protect its nonprofit members,” Gibson points out. “There is a clarity of aligned purpose that pervades this organization. Over 30 years we developed the expertise and products that best serve nonprofits, and the underwriting and claims expertise to deliver on our promises.”

Irvine lays out what a nonprofit should look for. “Property insurance, of course — but be generous with the square foot valuation,” he advises. “Extra expense and income continuation and business personal property insurance is also important — but keep a good inventory.”

Irvine stresses the importance of having the right insurer on your side. “NIA gave me a call and mentioned they ‛were just trying to keep up with us.’  I appreciated that. We needed to move quickly to provide stability.”

You can find more information about protecting your nonprofit during a disaster at

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