Churches are pillars within the community.
While you might not know the name or denomination off the top of your head or what time their worship hours begin, I’d venture to say everyone reading this can recall specific crossroads as to where religious institutions are located within their community. Their structures vary, some are very grand while others are more modest. Their features vary, some feature beautiful stained-glass windows, magnificent steeples, distinctive signage, other ministries might be more traditional, or satellite churches housed inside other businesses are not uncommon. As unique as their intricate details are, so are their insurance needs.
Partner with a Pastor
WalkerHughes own, Claude Robinson, is dedicated to not only his own church, but partnering with Indiana churches of all shapes and sizes to provide quality insurance solutions for their unique needs. Claude brings his experience of preaching, teaching and mentoring to the insurance industry specializing in insurance for churches and non-profits. With a master’s degree in Ministerial Studies, Claude holds a special knowledge of the day to day operations of churches and the clear written policies and procedures churches should be following from a loss prevention and risk management standpoint.
To first evaluate the needs of your church, it is crucial to review the top exposures facing churches:
Fires break out in churches and other religious and funeral properties in the United States on average 1,780 times in recent years. That translates to about 34 churches as week. Primary causes include, cooking equipment, heating equipment, arson, and electrical or lighting. It is important to have property coverage in place to help rebuild the structure, replace the contents and assist with the indirect costs of fire damage as well such as loss of income or funds spent potentially renting a new worship space.
Slip and Fall
Churches are very commonly faced with slip and fall exposures. Indiana features adverse winter weather conditions that members walk through the parking lot in and up ramps and stairs to enter and exit. Entry ways, classrooms, the sanctuary, slip and falls can happen anywhere and everywhere. Proper Medpay coverage limits on your policy can protect the church and its congregation from bills and legal fees that could result from injuries occurring on church property or church functions.
Claude identifies one of the greatest exposures to churches with regards to finances and advises his clients that there should always be clear and written procedures for collecting, counting, depositing and reporting finances. It is important to incorporate redundancies in these processes and require two signatures and for all church accounts and credit cards to be regularly checked and properly maintained. Not only are funds at risk, as churches often have expensive sound systems and music equipment paired with a predictable schedule due to their posted worship hours, unfortunately churches are also susceptible to burglary and theft. It is important to have not only coverage in place for church funds and property, but also to have proper security with an alarm system and proper lighting around entry points.
Childcare and Youth Activities
It is strongly encouraged for religious institutions to invest in the future and provide activities and programs tailored towards the ministry’s youth! However, that brings about a set of risks for the church that need to be adequately addressed from a risk management standpoint. It would be recommended for anyone involved in the church youth activities to be subject to a background check prior to being hired or approved to volunteer. Sexual Abuse and Molestation coverage is recommended to churches, schools and organizations working closely with children to protect the church and its members from any potential allegations of misconduct.
Protection Paired with Prevention
Having the proper insurance coverage in place to protect your religious institution is simply a piece of the puzzle. Loss prevention is crucial to the success of many organizations, as churches move many people through their facilities on a regular basis, it is important to adhere to policies and procedures designed to protect not only the congregation but the church itself. Partnering with someone like Claude who understands the day to day operations of a religious institution's operations is step in the right direction towards risk management. Claude has the expertise and the knowledge to provide your church with a comprehensive insurance program tailored to your unique needs.