SCA insurance

Tim McDaniel tmcd at
Thu Jan 16 21:17:03 PST 1997

I'll reply a bit to Stefan li Rous, and then append most of an article
by Arval Benicoeur who (as usualy) states points far better than I can.

On 16 Jan 1997, Mark Harris <mark_harris at> wrote:
> In the case of Joe Seneschal's exploding hotpot, since the house was
> not rented to the SCA, the SCA would have no liability.  It would
> however, be covered under Joe Seneschal's homeowner's policy.

Pick, pick.  If you will, assume it was Joe Blow, general participant,
renting his barn to the group.  (To avoid problems of self-dealing in
a 501(c)3 organization, posit that he's not an officer, and can prove
the rental was not above the market rate, say by showing rental prices
on similar weekends to groups of which he is not a member.)

And in any event (no pun intended), how does the lack of a fee
necessarily affect insurance?  My car insurance covers other drivers
who drive my car with my permission, and doesn't require a contract.
(I suppose it might *forbid* a fee passing hands, constituting a
commercial use of a personal car.)  Is it actually impossible to get
an insurance policy that covers members who aren't acting as officers?
Arval expands on this below.

> The SCA insurance is a minimal policy designed primarily to allow
> the SCA to rent sites that require the renting organisation to have
> such insurance.

... or it's a policy designed to cover the SCA, Inc.'s butts.  (I am
not entirely sure that it covers officers; it may just cover the Inc.
However, I am almost COMPLETELY unsure about this, so I will NOT argue
the matter just on a possible dim memory!)

A point Arval touches on in passing below: one of the more frequent
torts in the SCA is spoiled food at the feast ... but we don't require
membership for cooks.


    From: mittle at (Arval d'Espas Nord)
    Subject: Re: Back up your bad BoD claims<was Re:The Dream>
    Date: 30 Jul 1996 14:21:55 -0400
    Message-Id: <4tljs3$sp at>

Greetings from Arval!  Brianna (Robbin Long) replied to me.

me> The most common argument given for requiring membership for
me> officers is that they have to be members in order for the
me> liability insurance to protect the corporation.  That is simple
me> nonsense: The corporation can designate _anyone_ as its legal
me> agents, member or not.  Membership has no relation to
me> liability. Do you have some other argument why officers should be
me> members?

Br> You're right, the Society can designate anyone as its legal
Br> agents, but then, should a lawsuit arise, it is the corporate
Br> insurance, bought with membership money protecting the officer.
Br> This is requiring the members to support a benefit to a
Br> non-member.

The corporation has _lots_ of agents who are not members.  Attorneys.
Employees.  Accountants.  All these people are legal agents of the
corporation, in one way or another, and the corporation is responsible
for their proper actions as agents of the corporation.  That's how
corporations work.

Think of officers as a special kind of employee, i.e. employees who
work for free.  Do you think that these employees are _less_ deserving
of liability protection than employees who work for pay?  Of course
not.  But you are arguing that these volunteer employees should be
specially taxed for the privilege of volunteering.  Do you really
think that makes sense?

Br> In any case, the food preparers are not officers and legal
Br> representatives of the SCA, so the point is moot.

Nonsense.  Their actions are far more likely to generate a lawsuit
than any action by the local minister of arts and sciences.  The fact
that they are not officers -- and therefore are subject to no formal
approval process at all -- probably makes them a greater source of
liability than the marshallate or any other office.

My point is that there is no logical connection between serving as an
officer and imposing extra costs on the corporation.  Other people
impose greater costs and risks, but they are not required to be

me> Since we agree that it is no real protection -- and since
me> non-members can sign waivers just as easily as members -- what
me> would be served by requiring membership?

Br> To cover SCA expenses when someone else sues on your behalf for
Br> your stupidity.

Huh?  You seem to be arguing here that raising money is its own
justification.  Surely you must agree that there are fair and unfair
ways to support the corporation.

By framing the argument in terms of "stupidity", you are missing the
point: There is very little connection between an individual officer's
skills and the probability of lawsuits.

Liability insurance is a necessity.  I have no objection to fair
methods of raising money to pay for necessities.  But our current
method is entirely unfair because the distribution of cost bears no
relationship to the actual consumption of services.  In particular for
purposes of this discussion: Officers, who contribute more to the
Society than most people, are taxed the most.

...  I find it morally repugnant to tax volunteers for the privilege
of volunteering.  I find it morally repugnant for the corporation to
assert ownership of our common property and then presume to tax us for
the use of the house that we have built.  I find it morally repugnant
for the corporation to continue a system which gives self-righteous
prigs an excuse to denigrate good and noble folk of the Society as
freeloaders simply because they choose to donate money to different

Arval d'Espas Nord                                         mittle at

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