Insurance Questions to Ask
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While most of the major players in the religious insurance industry have checklists they use to advise the churches and organizations that they work with, it is a good idea to have one for your use as well.

Ken Brown, the church administrator with Kent Island United Methodist Church in Chester, Maryland, says he put together his own checklist of "all the things we want to make sure we have covered" the last time church leaders shopped around for coverage.

While this isn't a complete list, it is a good starting point for discussion.

Among the questions to ask a potential insurance agent:

  • What is your company's insurance ratings? A.M. Best, for example, provides an independent opinion of an insurer's financial strength and its ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations.
  • Will your organization have someone familiar with our program and understand our needs who we can call, instead of an anonymous person on the end of a toll-free number?
  • Does our policy provide coverage if the sanctuary burns and we can't have services there? Will it provide funding for site rentals and equipment rentals while we rebuild?

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What would it cost to rebuild if our church and other buildings, and all of their contents, were destroyed by a fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, or other disaster?
  • Do we have an inventory of our property? Make sure to include photos of valuable items and store them in a safe or safe-deposit box located off site.
  • Do we have enough liability for malpractice for the clergy? Sexual misconduct coverage on all of the staff?

—Tonie Auer

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Posted: May 20, 2010

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