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Kiwanis risk officer says use common sense during these times

Steven Hadt | Mar 19, 2020

Stu Peterson Planning is what Stu Peterson does as Kiwanis International’s corporate risk officer. He’s been answering a lot of questions since the coronavirus pandemic changed the way Kiwanis clubs around the globe operate.  

“This is a situation you could never plan for,” he says. “We’re in uncharted waters.”

Peterson has answered dozens of phone calls and emails during the past few weeks. Most questions have come from club presidents who want to know whether the Kiwanis insurance policy will cover their club if someone gets COVID-19 at a Kiwanis meeting or event.  

Peterson’s answer is simple: clubs are covered. But, he adds, the person who is sick will need to prove they were exposed to the virus at the Kiwanis event before the insurance company would pay out a benefit to cover health expenses or loss of income.

“It would have to be proven that they didn’t have the virus before the event and then had it after the event,” he said. “That would be very difficult to do unless they were tested before and after the function.”

Peterson says the best option for clubs is to follow the advice of local health leaders.  

“I can’t imagine any club would be criticized for canceling or postponing an event in these circumstances,” he says. “My simple advice is to follow what the schools are doing if it’s a youth event and follow the state and local safeguards for all others.”

The Kiwanis insurance policy doesn’t cover any losses from events that are canceled as a result of the coronavirus. For expenses to be reimbursed, a club would have had to buy a “special events” policy on its own. Unfortunately, Peterson says, those policies have begun to exclude financial losses due to the coronavirus on special events policies. The money spent to reserve the location of the event may be lost.

“My advice is to address it with the other party and see if there’s anything they can do,” he says. “I’ve talked to many clubs and hear that event venues have been open to discussing other options.”

As for the clubs that are still considering having their meetings or events, Peterson has one piece of advice: use common sense.

“I don’t think there’s anything out there worth putting others at risk,” he said. “Plus, how many people would even show up? It can do nothing but be negative to not follow the advice of local leaders.”

2019-20 Kiwanis International President Daniel Vigneron suggests clubs postpone any meetings or events through the month of April.

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