Risk management is a crucial issue if we are to be the best stewards for the cause of Christ. Here are four tips to help you be more aware of risks and make good decisions about insurance coverage in the local church.
- Have a good working relationship with your agent and be sure your agent understands the exposures you have as a congregation. You should have confidence in your agent, but it is your responsibility to understand your coverage and to inform your agent of any unique liabilities you may have as a congregation.
- The average liability policy may not cover unique risks churches face. For example, ask your agent what would happen if your church sponsored a youth trip or mission trip and someone was seriously injured. Would you have any coverage if this person wanted payment for their injuries? Or what would happen if someone with a bad driving record was driving for a church-sponsored event and had an accident in which multiple people were injured?
- Someone from your congregation should review the church’s coverage annually and have an understanding of the your policies. Seek out a person in your congregation that has a working knowledge of insurance. If your insurance agent is a member of your church, I would recommend a different person for this task. It never hurts to have an abundance of counselors.
- Risk management should play a vital role in your insurance plan. Identify your top risks and take steps to minimize those risks. Some examples: How do you screen adults who work with minors in church-sponsored activities? How do you screen drivers who drive for church-sponsored activities? Look around your church property for tripping hazards. Trips and falls are the liability paid out by insurance companies most often. I highly recommend that someone at your church be responsible for making your grounds and buildings as safe as possible.
We all want to be the best stewards for the cause of Christ. Risk assessment and proper insurance coverage are important elements of good stewardship. If I can be of any assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.
Mark LeMay is the Facilities/Support Services Manager with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. Contact Mark LeMay at firstname.lastname@example.org or (615)371-2076.
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