[TheThinkTank] Insurance Woes, Continued!

Ainsley Naylor needleandthread at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 17:45:18 PDT 2020

I don't have an answer to this since I'm not in the U.S. but I am curious
why/how these insurance brokers know that you are affiliating yourselves
with BLM?

Obviously all of their responses are totally awful and pathetic, but I'm
curious how that is even part of the conversation? (*and does that mean
Churches etc. that are associating themselves with the movement will lose
their insurance coverage??*)

The organization I work for used to under the umbrella of a local community
health center (before we were able to take on all of the book-keeping,
payroll, etc. for ourselves) which theoretically might be an option for you
but likely not workable on a short timeline.

Best of luck!!

On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 7:38 PM Josh Bisker <jbisker at gmail.com> wrote:

> I mentioned an insurance conundrum a couple weeks ago, and it hasn't
> worked itself out; now I'm at the "calling all ships" stage -- please give
> a gander below.
> *Also a new turn in the story: structural racism!* Brokers have told us
> that getting a new insurance policy in NYC is especially hard right now,
> not only because of COVID, but also because of all the Black Lives Matter
> activity here. They said told that the Mechanical Gardens' visible
> support for and engagement with the BLM movement makes us unappealing to
> insurers. Carriers consider BLM and, I quote, "the whole George Floyd
> thing" to be a "touchy" and "hot button issue" (these are actual quotes
> from brokers! wtf!) and thus our involvement makes us an unattractive risk
> to take on. In other words, our denial from the insurance industry is a
> manifestation of systemic, structural racism, and it's erecting an unjust
> barrier to bike equity.
> *The short story:* We're on the threshold of a deal for space with a
> powerful city agency, the EDC, but we can't proceed b/c we don't have
> insurance. And we can't get insurance b/d we're in NYC and seem like a
> risk.
> *The solution we're seeking right now* is for another organization to add
> the Mechanical Gardens as an "additional named insured" to their current
> general commercial liability insurance policy; in that capacity, we would
> be able to add the EDC as a temporary insured party for the two-week pilot
> we're trying with them. An alternative: for an organization to just
> temporarily add both the Mechanical Gardens and the EDC to their policy in
> the manner the EDC stipulates in their contract for the duration of this
> 2wk program. If your coverage goes up, we'd pay the difference.
> *SO: *Any ideas, and/or any takers?
> *The longer story: *Right now the Mechanical Gardens has hit a wall,
> right at the threshold of an amazing opportunity. We've been negotiating
> with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, a hugely powerful
> quasi-public agency in NYC, for space to stage this
> <https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/projects/145159-mechanical-gardens-bike-co-op>.
> The EDC is offering us space to pilot the program: two weeks to train
> volunteers to build 50 bikes (donated new from Kent), that the EDC will
> then send to hospital workers at at the front lines of COVID-19. For this
> pilot, we're hiring a group of BIPOC LGBTQ youths from a local ride club as
> apprentice mechanics, teaching them basic wrenching skills that will
> prepare them for resilient bike industry jobs and for community resiliency
> actions. The program will be sensational, and address a complexity of
> social justice goals all at once.
> *But: we're in a bind.* Our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, the Alliance for
> Global Justice, no longer provides insurance for our operation, but the EDC
> needs us to have insurance, and needs to be temporarily added to the policy
> themselves, as stipulated in the draft agreement they sent over. We are
> hitting a brick wall trying to procure local coverage for ourselves.
> This all is time-critical, because our program with the EDC cannot go
> forward unless we have the ability to show them insurance and add them as a
> named party on the policy. Nonprofits are shying away, insurers are
> effectively blacklisting us, commercial shops are punting, and we're
> running low on options. This could be a tremendous opportunity to
> contribute valuably and substantively to the movement for black equity and
> social justice in NYC, and to further help universalize bike riding for all
> New Yorkers. Halp.
> I'm available and eager to talk about any solutions we might have:
> 914-500-9890
> xo
> Josh
> Josh Bisker
> 914-500-9890
> New York Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-op <http://bikecoop.nyc/>
> 596 Acres <http://596acres.org/>
> Bindlestiff Family Cirkus <http://bindlestiff.org/>
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