Religious Institution Insurance - An Overview

March 10, 2020

Religious institutions have risks unlike any other private or public institution. They are tasked with not only teaching their students or serving their community, but doing so while advancing their message.

Like our resource on "Insurance For Houses Of Worship - Explained," this is not a complete guide to managing risk for your institution. We do hope, however, that it helps you start thinking about religious institution insurance, the risks your particular group may face, and how you can deal with these risks.

Types Of Religious Institutions And Their Risks

K-12 Schools

From the sports field to field trips, K-12 schools have plenty of risks. It is crucial that you not only protect your students, but protect the financial well-being of your institution.

Operating a school involves many components, but we believe the right insurance program can empower your school to grow and thrive through the following ways:

  • Empower Your Leaders: Leading a school means making tough decisions. Directors and officers coverage provides legal defense funds and protects the personal assets of your leaders.

  • Protect Your Information: Operating a K-12 school means you have sensitive information about your students. From a data breach lawsuit to regulatory fines from HIPAA, a cyber liability policy protects the school from a cyberattack that could cost millions.

  • Teach Your Beliefs: Faith and religion are the foundation of your school. That foundation should not be watered down because it might offend someone. Religious freedom coverage provides you the peace of mind to teach your doctrine without fear of liability.

Colleges And Universities

Religious schools and universities are some of the largest religious institutions out there, and their great size means they need superior risk management and excellent coverages. The right mixture of coverage structure and risk management can help your university complete its mission. Here are a couple of ways you can use insurance to do just that:

  • Protect Your Investments: Many religious colleges and universities have a significant amount of property. In the current market, quality property insurance can be hard to acquire. That is why we suggest universities stay diligent about keeping their property deductibles low as well as watch for coverage limitations and exclusions on their renewals.

  • Protect Your Income: If an event shuts down the school for a considerable amount of time, do you have a plan in place to pay for all your expenses without significantly impacting your balance sheet? Business continuity coverage pays for your normal operating expenses, payroll, and net income while your university is rebuilding from a catastrophe.

  • Protect Your Students: If one of your students is injured during a school event, you will want to help them with their medical bills or health insurance deductible. A student accident policy ensures that your students are protected during school trips, sporting events, or while on campus.

Churches

Churches are frequently volunteer-led and are mainstays in their communities, hosting a variety of activities related to both faith and services. Having a great church property and casualty insurance policy will not only protect your congregation, but it will ensure that your church can survive a catastrophe.

Since many churches put money back into their communities, most ministries do not carry a substantial bank balance. Through the use of church fellowship insurance, you can ensure the long-term success of your ministry while also using your money to serve the church instead of preparing for catastrophe. This type of insurance helps you:

  • Protect Your Volunteers: Your congregation has a passion for helping their community; we often see churches cleaning up communities after disasters, feeding the hungry, and going on mission trips. Policies like church general liability and accident insurance can empower your people to continue their work.

  • Continue Your Ministry: If a disaster occurs, do you have a backup space to hold services, or will you suspend church operations until the church is rebuilt? Ministry continuation coverage provides you with the necessary financial resources to get you set up at a new location if your church cannot operate due to a covered property claim.

Conclusion

Religious institutions have to protect not only those they serve, but the people that serve with them. You can protect your institution through a comprehensive risk management program and quality insurance coverage.

About The Author: Austin Landes, CIC

Austin is an experienced Commercial Risk Advisor specializing in property & casualty risk management for religious institutions, real estate, construction, and manufacturing.

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