While we can’t realistically eliminate all risk, we can mitigate the risk with best practices. The first week of this series, we looked at the goals of insurance in the church. The next week Tyler and Chris discussed some of the different types of insurance your church can purchase. Last week we learned how to shop for insurance. And in today’s final episode, they will discuss buying insurance and how to mitigate risk in your ministry.
What Insurance to Buy
How much insurance should a church buy? That question can be answered by the question of “What am I worried about?” Identify claims that could happen, and ministries that could lead to those types of claims, and try to plan ahead.
With your Advisor, you plan correctly. Identify your risks. Then come up with the appropriate dollar amount. Being the best stewards with the assets you have.
A note on Deductibles
According to our guest, the church should have as high an deductible as they can afford. If you don’t have someone who could help you budget, he suggests Miller Management. 😉
The percentages of deductibles have increased in the last five years, and Tyler only expects those to go up again in the next few years. For the Midwest, that is specific to wind and hail damage.
The goal is to build a plan that helps you be pro-active instead of having a reactive posture.
Another thing you will need is a reserve for the increase in deductibles. If you don’t have any reserve, reach out to GLS Insurance, for a policy to help but that down. You can now buy insurance for your insurance!
Let’s talk about Sexual Misconduct
Also look at your sexual misconduct policy. “We live in a fallen world with sin all around us. We need to work as a church, as a ministry, to be proactive in providing a safe place, a safe ministry, for children to learn about the love of God.” – Tyler Foster
You need an insurance plan for your building and for your people. And along those lines, to provide intentional training for how to proactively reduce the risk of sexual misconduct at the church. The policies need to be written down, handed out, and trained on every so often.
Our guests tips for prevention when hiring children’s ministry workers:
- Select workers appropriately – a regular attender for 6 months, preferably a member
- Written application – where they can express their experience, calling, and testimony – followed by an in-person meeting
- National Background Check – a must, at the national level, not just state
- Institutional Reference Check – follow up with two places of businesses that can vouch for them
The selection is the first aspect. Then there is the two adult rule – always have two adults present with kids for any sponsored activities. Counseling sessions have there own caveats – multiple please should know the time and place, and maybe someone is sitting in an adjacent room.
Another prevention tactic is knowing how to respond to allegations, especially if one were to become public. Know who will be the spokesperson and who won’t be.
Also, know what your duty is to your insurance provider. If you don’t fulfil your obligation, you could be in violation of breaching your contract. Which will not bode well during the claim process.
Next, digital and online behavior guidelines need to be addressed beforehand. Text messages, photo sharing, social media connection, etc. rules between workers and volunteers and minors need to be set up. We are creating boundaries to keep both the kids and the adults safe.
Lastly, is mandatory reporting. As a church, know where you are as a mandatory reporter in your specific state. If you were to find something fishy happening and try to solve the issue yourself before reporting – and you are a mandatory reporter – that can get you in a lot of trouble.
“Make sure we can do everything in our power to reduce the risk and keep our kids safe. At no point should the church ever not try to uphold the gold standard for protecting the most at risk, and that is our kiddos.” – Tyler Foster, GLS Insurance
That wraps up our series of Insurance and the Church. Join us next month as we discuss the topic of Leadership Development.
Special thanks to our guest, Tyler Foster, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this final episode in our Insurance series.