(In response to a question on the Co-Active Network regarding the need for liability insurance.)
You are right to assume insurance is a “different strokes for different folks” issue.
Some coaches take insurance simply to eliminate the possibility of liability. Others take it because it is required by some of the organizations they work with.
Many other coaches do not bother with insurance with the rationale that as long as they are coaching, and not consulting (diagnosing and telling people what to do), their exposure is so small that is does not warrant insurance coverage.
Over a 6 year period when I was actively volunteering with the ICF, I only heard of 2 lawsuits. In both cases had the coach stayed within the ICF Code of Ethics, they would not have gotten in trouble in the first place.
These days, with so many more people without proper training calling themselves coaches, I do not doubt this number has gone up. However, I still believe if you always act professionally and in alignment with the highest ethical standards, your changes of ending up in court are actually very small.
So, if you are organized as a proprietorship, have significant assets, work with clients involved in contentious situations (divorce, some difficult job transitions, etc.), live in a litigious part of the world, work with businesses or corporation, see people in your home – then, if it was me, I would consider insurance.
On the other hand, if you simply coach, never give advice, have studied and abide with the ICF Code of Ethics, don’t live in a lawsuit prone country, have a limited liability corporation, or don’t have a nickel to your name – then, if it was me, I would probably not worry about insurance.
Hope this helps,
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