Master Insurance Program

Miscellaneous Exposures & Insurance Issues

Independent Contractors

The Diocesan Master Insurance Program policy DOES NOT cover any independent contractor who provides services for or performs work at your parish or institution. Thus, any bodily injury or property damage caused by these contractors must be covered by their own general liability policy.

For your own protection and for the protection of the Diocese, it is imperative that you deal only with reputable contractors who are insured. Any company or individual you contract with must be able to provide you with evidence of their general liability insurance coverage, in an amount no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, before a contract is awarded or renewed. Each independent contractor must provide you with a Certificate of Insurance naming (1) the "Bishop of Cleveland," (2) the "Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland" and (3) your "parish/institution," as ADDITIONAL INSUREDS. The phrase "additional insureds" is essential for a certificate to be acceptable. In addition, the contractor or individual must also provide you with a copy of a Certificate from the State of Ohio evidencing current Workers' Compensation coverage. If any contractor or individual is unable to furnish you with these two particular documents, they should NOT be utilized. Click here for a sample "CERTIFICATE OF GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE." The sample certificate does not define all coverage required depending on contract type.

The Diocesan Master Insurance Program provides coverage only for the employees and volunteers of a participating parish/institution. Please note "volunteers" are defined as those who receive NO COMPENSATION at all (neither direct payment, stipends, earnings, tuition credits, gifts, etc.) for work or services performed directly to you and for your benefit. Any other individual or company is then defined as an independent contractor and must provide evidence of their own general liability insurance with the coverage limits and conditions described above.

You can use this "SAMPLE LETTER OF REQUEST" to request a certificate of insurance from an independent contractor. When you receive the requested certificate (or a copy of their insurance policy) , retain the original in this manual and send a copy of it directly to the Diocesan Master Insurance Program by fax (216) 367-1829. They will review it for any conditions or exclusions that could limit or void coverage requirements.

Parish Festivals, Carnivals, and Events

Although parish carnivals, festivals, and similar events are a source of fund raising, the large crowds, amusement rides, games, and other carnival attractions generate a prime source of bodily injury and property damage claims against the parishes and Cleveland Diocese each year. It is essential for all parishes and institutions who sponsor or otherwise permit such events to occur on their premises to review and comply with the following insurance requirements:

  • All ride contractors MUST provide your location with a completed Certificate of Insurance thirty (30) days prior to being allowed on the premises. This certificate must list the name and address of the insurance carrier(s), the applicable policy number(s), their effective dates, and any unusual conditions or exclusions. Their policy must provide comprehensive general liability coverage in an amount no less than $1,000,000 combined single limit, products liability, and completed operation liability. (They must also provide you with a copy of their certificate evidencing current coverage under the State of Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.)
    • The liability certificate of insurance MUST name the "Bishop of Cleveland," the "Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland," and "(your Parish/Institution)" as ADDITIONAL INSUREDS on the policy for the festival/event.
    • No location should ever contract for children or adult rides/attractions with any company who cannot furnish the above-described insurance certificate containing the required limits and conditions
  • All municipal permits must be obtained prior to allowing the festival/event to open
  • All municipal/state inspections of rides, sanitation, and food service operations must be completed prior to allowing the festival/event to open.
  • Copies of all insurance certificates must be emailed to or faxed to (216) 367-1829 for review and approval prior to allowing the festival/event to open.
  • If alcohol is served or sold, your location must obtain the required State permit. Once the permit is issued, liquor liability insurance must be obtained through the Diocesan Property/Casualty Insurance Office.
  • Security personnel must accompany all persons making deposits of festival funds. Deposit times and routes should be varied. Money counting areas must be secured with restricted access only to authorized individuals.
  • Certificates of insurance must be obtained from all independent contractors, including but not limited to, the following:
    • food purveyors
    • fireworks display firms
    • outside vendors renting booths/tents, providing games/attractions, etc.
    • security firms or personnel
    • waste hauling and cleanup
    • portable toilet rentals, etc.
  • Children's ride contractors (such as pony rides) must also provide a certificate of insurance to your location with the limits and conditions as noted in the Parish Festivals, Carnivals, and Events section.
  • "Dunk the Dolly" booths as well as any "tumbling, springboard, rebounding or bouncing devices/attractions" are NOT to be rented or used due to the high exposure for risk of injury to participants and consequent liability claims. There is often an insurance coverage exclusion for injuries or damages arising out of the use of such devices under the Diocesan master policy.
  • All fire regulations must be complied with including providing an adequate number and type of fire extinguishers, maintaining open and unobstructed fire exits, keeping adequate open areas for emergency vehicle access and egress, and providing well-lighted areas at night.
    • It is suggested that the festival/event site be inspected by your local fire department prior to opening to the public
  • Raffle cars should be added to the insurance vehicle schedule prior to receiving such vehicles from the dealer. Call the Diocesan Property/Casualty Insurance Office with the year, make, model, and serial number.
  • If there is a fireworks display, all necessary permits, inspections, and compliances with Ohio Fire Code regulations must be obtained prior to allowing the exhibition to take place.
  • All incidents of bodily injury or property damage must be reported IMMEDIATELY to the Diocesan Property/Casualty Insurance Claims Office (216) 696-6525, 1-800-869-6525, Extension 3400 -or- Fax (216) 861-0406. Please refer to the "Claim & Exposure Reports" chapter of this manual for procedures to secure the important information necessary for the insurance carrier

Volunteer Guidelines

The Diocese of Cleveland maintains a comprehensive general liability insurance policy, which covers participating Diocesan entities, their pastors, administrators, employees, and VOLUNTEERS for negligent actions covered under the policy, which result in injury to another person or persons. It is important to understand that there is no coverage for criminal or intentional acts. Likewise, there is no coverage for independent contractors, or any individuals affiliated with groups or organizations that are not specifically designated as an insured entity/location in the Diocesan Master Insurance Program participants listing of named insureds. A volunteer is defined as a person who renders time or services directly to the named insured without any type of remuneration or financial compensation.

There is medical payments coverage available, in an amount up to $1,000 per person, to assist any volunteer for out-of-pocket expenses incurred for satisfying deductibles, co-payments, prescription drugs, or medical services not covered through their own personal health insurance provider. There is no "volunteer accident insurance" program in effect. In addition, there are no workers compensation or disability insurance benefits available for an injured volunteer.

The Diocesan Master Insurance Program provides insurance for vehicles that are owned or long-term leased to named insured locations. The automobile policy does not cover vehicles personally owned or leased to clergy, employees, or VOLUNTEERS. There is no coverage for damage sustained to a volunteer's vehicle, or for liability incurred, due to an automobile accident while acting as a volunteer. In the state of Ohio , the insurance coverage of the owner of a vehicle is primary. Any volunteer using their own vehicle must be insured! For the protection of all concerned, every parish or institution must certify that automobile liability insurance exists for volunteer vehicles.

The master program's Directors and Officers liability insurance coverage does provide protection for an employee or VOLUNTEER while acting as an officer, director, board member, or trustee in the event that claims are brought against them because of wrongful acts, allegedly wrongful acts, or omissions made while acting in such a capacity.

Insured locations must keep on file a signed statement from each of its volunteers acknowledging they understand and are completely aware of their personal potential liability for uncovered exposures while acting on your behalf. Here is a sample "ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF UNCOMPENSATED VOLUNTEER" form.


For individuals to be insured under the Diocesan Master Insurance Program, the insured Entity/Location must organize participation in the activity; establish the time of service of the activity for its volunteers; and coordinate the activities in which the individuals or group engage. It is not sufficient that the activity merely be one which is of a charitable nature or about which the Entity/Location publishes or disseminates information.

Leasing Your Premises


If you are leasing or renting any portion of the real property or any building space of your parish or school, you MUST contact Attorney Kevin Burke in the Diocesan Finance Office. Properly drafted lease/rental agreements are necessary which outline the terms and conditions for the use of the facility, the liability and property insurance requirements, as well as the essential hold harmless language to protect the Diocese, the Bishop, and your location. Here is a sample "FACILITES USE AGREEMENT."


All Catholic Charities locations who rent or lease any portion of their building(s) or grounds to an outside entity MUST contact Attorney Lisa Gasbarre Black at Catholic Charities Services Corporation to draft contracts outlining the facility's use and protecting all corporate entities from the risk of potential liability.


Invitee locations are advised to contact their legal counsel to negotiate and draft any rental or lease agreements entered into for the use of buildings or property. Besides clearly outlining the terms and conditions for using your facility, contracts must contain a hold harmless clause to protect your location, its owner or corporate entity, their directors, officers, trustees, employees, volunteers, and agents who may have possible exposure to any and all liability as a result of a tenant's operation on your premises.


A Certificate of Insurance evidencing acceptable coverage must be issued to you by the lessor's insurance agent upon the execution of such a contract. This Certificate MUST name your location, as well as all other entities protected in the hold harmless clause, as "ADDITIONAL INSUREDS" for comprehensive general liability insurance protection by an A-rated insurance carrier, in an amount of no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, for combined bodily injury and property damage. For your convenience, you may fax the Certificate you receive to the Diocesan Master Insurance Program Office at (216) 367-1829 for assistance in reviewing for compliance.


Revised 3/19