[TheThinkTank] Insurance Woes, Continued!

momoko saunders analyst at bikefarm.org
Wed Jul 1 17:54:00 PDT 2020

Josh. I suggest looking at local organizations as the insurance
requirements are likely different state by state. But I’m not a lawyer so
maybe you’ve already asked about this?

Total barf on those statements from insurers. Seems possibly illegal to be
honest. Again, not a lawyer.

On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 5:45 PM Ainsley Naylor <needleandthread at gmail.com>

> 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!!
> ainsley.
> 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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