Unit charter fee changes: How what’s new will affect you

Let’s talk money.

Two big changes coming up next year will impact every registered Scout unit:

  1. What is now known as the “unit charter fee” will change its name to the more-descriptive “unit liability insurance fee.”
  2. The cost of this fee will increase from $20 a year to $40 a year. This fee is per unit, not per individual.

Every Scout unit — packs, troops, teams, crews, ships, and posts — must pay the fee each year, and every penny of this fee goes into the general liability insurance program, providing coverage for claims alleging negligent actions that result in either personal injury or property damage.

Note that the annual registration fee for individuals isn’t changing — it remains $15.

Find answers to your important questions after the jump… 

When will this take effect?

The new fee begins with units that have Dec. 31, 2012, charter expiration dates — a charter period beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Why is this happening?

The BSA cites these reasons:

  • The reserves for open claims have increased significantly over the past several years.
  • The average cost per claim has nearly doubled in the past five years.
  • Claims payments have doubled in the past two years, compared with a five-year average from 2005–2009.

What’s covered by insurance?

The general liability insurance policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for registered adults and for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability arising out of their chartering a traditional Scouting unit. This policy provides coverage for claims alleging negligent actions that result in either personal injury or property damage.

What isn’t covered?

There is no coverage for those who commit intentional or criminal acts. Liability insurance is purchased to provide financial protection in the event of accidents or injury that occur during an official Scouting activity.

What is a chartered organization?

A chartered organization is an organization that has applied for and received a current Boy Scouts of America charter to operate a Scouting unit. A chartered organization as defined within the policy shall include the chartered organization, its board of directors and/or trustees, and its officer and employees, in their official and individual capacities. This definition also includes a specific position: chartered organization representative.

Chartered organizations do not need a certificate of insurance. The chartered organization endorsement is a part of the insurance policy contract and is enforceable under the policy contract. Old Republic Insurance Company provides the first $1 million in coverage. Additional policies—all providing primary coverage to the chartered organization—have been purchased so that more than $5 million in primary coverage is provided.

What do you think?

How will this change affect your unit? Leave some thoughts below.

(h/t Scout Wire)

31 thoughts on “Unit charter fee changes: How what’s new will affect you

  1. Thanks for including the important line: “Note that the annual registration fee for individuals isn’t changing — it remains $15.”

    My council announced this just over a week ago and didn’t include that clarification, which resulted in lots of unhappy people.

    • Another question: What do the annual individual registration fee and unit liability insurance fee go towards? It seems like the unit fee is only for the liability insurance – was the unit charter fee just for that as well? It sounds like part of the individual fee also goes to insurance costs – what about the rest of it?

    • We just started our Pack and looking at the figures just for the rechartering it’s going to cost us about 635.00. We are a small town only 170.00 and money is tight for everyone. So if we can’t afford this we can no longer have a pack? wow makes one wonder if it’s about the boys anymore and just about money.

  2. So if individuals aren’t paying for this increase, who does BSA National think is really paying for this increase for many Scouting Units? Two of my sons’ previous units pay for the charter fee out of the Pack account. For some units an increase $20 may be a lot.

    • Good point: Individuals are paying for the increase, albeit indirectly. But the fee that individuals must pay each year to be members is unchanged.

    • Individuals may be paying for the increase indirectly. As Ken said below, some chartered organizations will cover this fee for the units.

  3. So this simply means that a one-time fee for the Charter is $40 instead of $20? Not $40 per registered person/Scout/Scouter. (?) And it covers the insurance costs? Sounds like a great deal to me. Having been a Charter Rep before, and since I am going to be one again this coming year, I am going to volunteer our Charter Organization pay that fee (a United Methodist Church, of which I am the Pastor). In my last church, we gave the BSA Unit $250 per year to use as needed. Presented to them on Scout Sunday (so they had been show up!).

  4. Interesting! This insurance, does it cover Scouting events? Our council adds a few bucks on to each individual who registers fro an event to cover insurance. It now appears we are double paying.

    • Each council also pays for liability insurance. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to look closely at this in my council and found the portion of event fees collected to help pay for the council portion of the cost of liability insurance only paid for about 20% of the amount paid for the insurance.

    • That sounds like a good subject for a bit boring but informative blog post – the insurance in the BSA and where the money comes from.

  5. A $20 increase PER UNIT is not very consequential. Everyone really should know that insurance premiums go up every year.

    Now a question: I thought that our insurance was arranged at the Council level, not Nationally. When I have had to show a proof of insurance for some event, the form given specifically lists our council as the policyholder.

  6. Curious. We are assessed an additional $5 per member (youth and adult), at rechartering, for insurance. That’s on top of the “Unit Rechartering Fee”!

    • In addition to the unit charter fees, councils also pay into the liability fund based on past claims. Additionally, most councils also provide accident and sickness insurance to registered members. That is separate from this insurance and another expense.

  7. Much of the confusion here is around the difference between what has just been announced by BSA – an increased unit fee to help cover the monumental costs of liability coverage – and what individuals pay to units, OR units cover from their budget, OR councils cover as part of their budget and ask for help from Friends of Scouting, which is for accident and sickness coverage, Two different types of coverage.

  8. This increase is needed to fund the MILLIONS needed as a NASCAR sponcer. Plain and simple. If additional funds are needed for insurance and other pertinant increases then okay. But I stand by my original statement. This increase is needed to fund the MILLIONS needed as a NASCAR sponcer.

  9. Perhaps someone could elaborate for me on the different types of insurance we are talking about here. I am aware that each of our registered members pay $1.50 over the BSA registration fee of $15. I know that is used for accident stuff as I have had two families use it. What type is the new $40 amount?

  10. Mike– how much exactly does BSA spend to sponsor NASCAR? I can’t say, because I don’t know. But my understanding–and I hope that someone will correct me if I’m wrong–is that, at least on the IZOD Indycar Series (which also has a relationship with BSA) Dale Coyne Racing sponsors the #19 BSA race car that is the focal point for scouts in all the councils where it races, and beyond–not the other way around. Coyne and his wife were featured in Boy’s Life Magazine and honored for their contributions and commitment to BSA–despite the fact that they have no children in the program. That’s servant leadership, and they are role models for all. The BSA-racing partnership promotes youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is a fabulous partnership in my mind, especially if BSA is the philanthropic beneficiary, rather than the paying sponsor. Auto racing appeals to boys, and as long as it’s done on a closed track, is an inspiring activity that helps make Scouting “cool.” I’d love to see it integrated with a safe driving program for older Scouts– but even just for it’s contribution to STEM, it’s a great thing. Please check your facts… if the NASCAR and Indycar relationships are an advertising expense to BSA, we need to know that; but if they’re not, the true sponsors deserve our gratitude, not unwarranted criticism.

  11. This insurance is in addition to the insurance that each local council may choose to provide? For instance, in Dan Beard Council #438 we are assessed an additional $1.75 at the time of recharter for each registered member on the charter to cover insurance costs (taking the annual per person cost from $15.00 to $16.75). That additional insurance fee charged by the local councils will continue to remain?

  12. The National Council started charging a unit charter fee over 20 years ago. The purpose of the fee was to help defray the increasing costs of liability insurance. In addition to theses charter fees, national charges each council a fee based on the council size and the number and size of claims. Now after 20+ years at $20, National is experiencing more costly claims and greater number of claims, thus the increase from $20 to $40 per unit annually. Changing the name from charter fee to unit liability insurance fee did not create a new fee, just changed the name and the amount. If it seems excessive, consider what it would cost to provide liabilty insurance for all leaders and your chartered partner if each unit had to buy it on its own.
    When a council adds a dollar or so to an activity fee it is to help defray the cost of liability insurance the council pays to national. Seldom do the liability insurance portion of events collected pay more than a small portion of the amount the council pays to national to be covered with liability insurance, thus the rest is made up thru FOS and other fundraising. When someone sues- they typically name the BSA, the local council, the scout leaders and the chartered partner in the law suit.
    Accident and sickness insurance that many councils purchase for their units is often paid for by charging a per scout/ scouter fee at recharter time. These fees are sent directly by the council to a 3rd party insurance company, not national.

  13. A dollar or 2 for an activity fee is fine. But, in South floriDUH council, they feel the need to charge 20.00 PER PERSON registration for a camporee as their activity fee. A Scout is Trustworthy, but the council isn’t! I rather pay the 40.00 per unit liability fee any day.

  14. Is the recent news report about BSA covering up sexual misconduct a factor in this cost increase? Does any insurance policy help protect the unit, unit leaders, and chartering organization against such charges? Who pays the lawyers?

  15. I’m confused – this post, and information sent out by our Council, says “The general liability insurance policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for registered adults and for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability…”

    I had always been told that BSA insurance is SECONDARY for individuals (i.e. kicks in only after your own insurance is exhausted), and PRIMARY for chartered organizations. To confuse things even more, the original announcement sent to our council says that the coverage is primary for individuals, EXCEPT for losses due to automobile accidents – which the announcement said was the cause of the majority of claims. So, if the coverage is secondary for most claims, how is it primary?

  16. Can anyone offer some advice regarding funds and the charter/unit relationship? Our unit needs a new charter organization. I know the “stuff” we have such as camping equipment is the charter’s property. Is that the case with troop funds as well. Thanks for the input

  17. I guess I am confused as well…We pay recharter fee (for insurance) – understand and have no problem…The we pay $2 extra per person when registering (so we pay $17 annually) and then we are charged $1 per person in addition to activity fees for any event district/council/unit hosts regardless of where…and I understoof the insurance to be like Mike Brown (above) described — secondary…so why do we have to pay the additional fees if we as a unit do not want that additional coverage that will never pay out if needed?

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