While we can’t realistically eliminate all risk, we can mitigate the risk with best practices. The first week we looked at the goals of insurance in the church. Last week Tyler and Chris discussed some of the different types of insurance your church can purchase. This week we learn how to shop for insurance.
Agent vs. Advisor
Insurance Agent vs. Insurance Advisor – at GLS they work on moving their employees from an agent to an advisor. Agents are usually policy focused, they want to make the sale happen. “Sure, let’s drop the embezzlement coverage, no one steals from a church!” 🙂 Or, they might low ball your property insurance, just to get your bottom dollar down.
An Advisor, on the other hand, is focused on the needs of the client. They learn about a typical week of usage in your building. They have a more pro-active approach to get out ahead of the game. You can think of these two as salesman vs. an educator. An advisor’s ultimate goal is to partner with their client and help you gain the knowledge that you need. Not just to sell you a policy.
Inevitably something will happen, and you are going to go back to your advisor and expect to get the coverage that you both decided upon actually to come through. So there is an advantage for them to make sure you understand your policy and are happy with the outcome.
Captive vs. Independent Agent
A captive agent has one specialty with one company. They know that one niche inside and out, the disadvantages or advantages. They are the experts in that field. Plus, there is generally a personal relationship with the underwriter, who might be able to work with you better. But in the end, the captive agent really benefits the company more than the client.
As an Independent agent, the person represents the client to the different insurance carriers. They can shop the insurance options each year and get the best bang for your buck. Now the insurance person has multiple relationships with different carriers and underwriters. They can see trends and have options when they see something coming on the horizon.
Church Insurance Provider vs. Secular Provider
Advantage to work with a company that works with churches? Frankly, they understand church culture. There are unique situations that a church handles while also trying to advance the gospel at the same time. The secular company just isn’t as aligned with the church world. You could even end up with a cancelation letter before you get off the phone to your advisor with your question. “You want to take your student ministry white water rafting? Umm, let me find my letterhead.”
You can do a review anytime that you’d like. For GLS they do a deep dive every 3 years with their clients. But if you’d like a review every 6 months – that’s your option. For most organizations every three years is the longest you’d want to go, or when there is a big change. In this partnership, if there is some change (bathroom remodel, new sign added, etc.) that’s when you would let your insurance advisor know and they could see if a policy review is necessary.
During that review, we recommend multiple people in the organization know what is going on. Particularly a Pastor, Board Member, Elder, Finance Chair, etc. – depending on your church governance is structured – all should be informed on the process and brought up to speed. This is another time that your Insurance Advisor could help you out as your insurance educator.
That’s all for today in our Carriers, Agents, and Reviews, oh my! episode. Join us next week as we wrap up our series on Insurance with Tyler from GLSInsurance.com.
Special thanks to our guest, Tyler Foster, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this third episode in our Insurance series.