Using town property? Better have insurance

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Judy Alderman of Gallery 302 was dismayed when she learned last week that the Bridgton Art Guild will be required for the first time to buy insurance for their annual Art in the Park show at Shorey Park on July 19.

It wasn’t so much the cost, although paying several hundred dollars to cover insurance for a one-day event is not easy for most nonprofits.

It was that she had no idea the town had changed its policy earlier this year, and was now requiring insurance for all events held on town property. Many nonprofit organizations carry riders on their own insurance policies that cover them when they hold events at locations other than their own property.

But not Gallery 302.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said Monday that he made the policy change in January when he became aware of changes in the requirements of insurance companies representing Maine municipalities. As a result, he felt it prudent to enroll the town in what is called the Tenants User Liability Program, which provides cost-effective protection for both the organization and the governmental agency. It is a general liability policy written in the name of the organization or group that wishes to use town-owned property.

“We’re sorry to have to do that, but we don’t want the taxpayers to be on the hook for that,” should someone get hurt while attending an event on town property put on by a third party. He said he didn’t notify area nonprofits because “How do I know which nonprofits to notify?” Many, if not most, are already covered, he said.

He said the organizations will be told of the new requirement when they apply to the town for their annual events.


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