Created equal?

Perspectives on selecting the right insurance agent or broker to meet your church’s sexual abuse risk mitigation needs

“Has anyone reviewed our insurance program recently? Do we have the correct coverage at reasonable premiums? Does our sexual abuse coverage protect the individual accused or the corporate entity?”

Matt Hayes
Vice President, Sales
Sovereign Insurance Group

Sadly, many church administrators desperately want to know the answers to these questions but the final decision can be based on the lowest premium or an established relationship. That type of decision-making can lead a church to unknowingly accept inferior coverage.  

Insurance is complicated. How can a church properly evaluate the coverage, cost and quality of an offering?  

A trusted insurance advisor can help make this process less complicated and provide clear, level-headed counsel.

Questions to ask when evaluating insurance advisors:

Niche focus. Do they understand the unique needs of churches?

Benchmarking data. Do they know what other similarly sized churches are purchasing? Can they tell you if you have a fair deal?  

Risk Management advice. Can they help you plan for mitigation strategies to minimize your risk? Can they tell you what other churches are doing in similar situations?

Carrier access. Do they know who in your area is providing the right mix of coverage at fair premiums?  Can they help you evaluate multiple carrier options?

Niche focus

At their core, all insurance policies protect assets (buildings, finances) and people (third parties, your church members, employees). Whether you are insuring a church, pizza shop, manufacturing plant, or a community garden, all organizations have those same baseline needs.  

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However, the coverage needs of insuring churches comes with some unique challenges. A broker that specializes in churches will have a better understanding of your exposures and how to best protect you.

Benchmarking data

How do you evaluate how much coverage you need and what you should pay for it? As much as you can afford? What’s a fair rate to insure your building? A trusted advisor will use data to back up their counsel.  

Benchmarking data allows your agent to explain how similar organizations have made decisions and what limits other similarly sized churches are purchasing. Evaluating the proper insurance limit for Sexual Abuse is helpful when you understand what other churches of your size and scope, and in the same area, have done. Higher limits come at higher costs — work with a broker who can give you a 360-degree evaluation to weight budgetary concerns with data.

Risk management advice

Essentially, “risk management” means evaluating bad things that can happen and putting forth strategies to minimize those bad scenarios. Is signing the charter agreement with the Boy Scouts a good idea? Why do we need a two-adult rule for youth workers?  

Working with an advisor who can provide helpful, reliable and level-headed counsel on these matters will only put your church in a stronger position.

Carrier access 

A broker simply having access to insurance carriers does not mean he or she is a church specialist. For example, many insurance carriers offer sexual abuse and molestation coverage. But what does it cover? Your employees and volunteers? 

Is the policy on a duty-to-defend basis? Does it require reimbursement if someone is found guilty? Can the insurer offer the limits your ministry needs? Can you meet the insurer’s guidelines?

Having access to multiple church specialty carriers is important because nuances in coverage limits, forms and rates can vary from state to state and can make one carrier a better fit than another. Some insurers go through waves of their own rate and coverage changes that might not align with the rest of the marketplace. 

Evaluating a prospective agent based on these factors will not only help your church mitigate risk, obtain quality coverage at a fair rate, but it will also be able to help you better navigate matters surrounding sexual abuse. It can help, pre-situation (mitigation factors, quality coverage), but also in the unfortunate event of your church facing an allegation of abuse. Choose wisely.

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