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We've Got You Covered

Edie Eckman
Waynesboro VA USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 1, February-March 2006, p. 3.

When you sign your LLLI Leader's Statement of Commitment you become a La Leche League Leader and are immediately entitled to the rights, privileges, and benefits of leadership, including -- hold your breath -- liability insurance coverage. It's probably not something you think about very often, but it's an important part of our LLL work.

We live in a litigious society. While a Leader has never been sued over her volunteer work, it doesn't hurt to be prepared and knowledgeable about what our liability insurance covers. During the 2005 International Conference, Chris Breck, La Leche League International's insurance agent, answered a number of questions about our coverage.

To put it simply, LLL Leaders are covered for general liability and "professional services" while they are doing LLL work wearing their Leader hat. General liability covers such things as "bodily injury" or "property damage" that might occur during Series Meetings, Toddler Meetings, Evaluation Meetings, Specialty Meetings, or home visits.

The "professional services" coverage includes the information Leaders give while performing education, information, and support services through helping calls, seminars, Conferences, and workshops. This also includes offering information via the Internet and 1-800 help line calls.

You are covered if you are a current Leader, but only while acting on behalf of La Leche League International. (Are your dues up-to-date?) If you are receiving payment for teaching a class or giving a talk about LLL topics, using your LLL Leader title, you are covered. If you are volunteering for another organization as an LLL Leader, you are covered. However, if you are getting paid by any non-LLL entity to perform one-to-one breastfeeding help (similar to what you do as a Leader), you are not covered.

You need to be using up-to-date materials that are in keeping with LLLI information and philosophy. If you are a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) as well as a Leader, be cautious about which role you are filling when you are helping a mother. Leaders are not covered for malpractice. Remember -- you are not practicing medicine!

"Coverage" means that the insurance company would pay all sums including legal defense costs that LLLI would become obligated to pay as damages from claims made against LLLI for which they are legally liable.

Just because something is "covered" doesn't mean that you should be careless in your LLL work. Establish rapport with the mother you are helping. Be sure you are keeping good, complete logs of your helping calls. Stay up-to-date on breastfeeding information. If you have a difficult helping situation, ask for help from your resource Leaders, including the Professional Liaison Department.

Please keep in mind that the information in this article gives you a general idea of what instances the liability insurance covers. It is not binding, nor does it attempt to explain in detail every circumstance that might occur to bring liability issues into question. If you have specific concerns about your LLL work and liability coverage, please contact your Area Professional Liaison Leader.

Source: "Insurance Questions and Answers for the International Meeting of La Leche League International," presented by Christopher M. Breck, CIC, June 30, 2005, and phone conversation with Chris Breck August 2, 2005.

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