If You Build It, Risks Will Come

Any renovation, construction, or addition project at your church introduces new liability risks. Before engaging in any project, determine whether your ministry, a contractor, or some other party is taking responsibility for these risks, secure documented evidence of this arrangement, and make certain that all insurance policies involved provide adequate coverage.

Contractors

If your ministry hires a contractor, make sure he provides his own insurance coverage. Never use uninsured subcontractors. Ask your contractor to provide a certificate of insurance indicating that he has workers’ compensation, general liability, and automobile insurance. This document should include policy numbers, limits, and terms.

Either you or your contractor must provide workers’ compensation. If your subcontractor does not carry workers’ compensation, then you, as the project owner, can be held responsible for work-related injuries to your contractor’s employees.

Ask your contractor to name your organization as an additional insured on his company’s liability certificate of insurance. Require liability limits of at least $1 million. If your contractor is providing builder’s risk coverage, ask him to indicate it on the property certificate of insurance.  Secure a copy of the policy for your records.

Make sure the construction contract contains an indemnification provision, requiring the contractor to compensate your ministry for any injury, loss, or damage he or she causes your organization.

Volunteer labor

If your ministry wants to use volunteer or donated labor to complete your construction project, consider the risks. If one of your volunteers is injured, typical insurance policies provide no workers’ compensation and only a limited medical benefit, usually between $500 and $5,000. Inform your volunteers that if they are injured on the job, they will be responsible for their own medical expenses after primary medical coverage is exhausted.

You should fully explore this before deciding to undertake the work yourself. Often, after the workers’ compensation premium is factored in, many churches find it more cost-effective to enlist professionals rather than volunteers to complete the work.

Before breaking ground on your ministry’s next building project, carefully consider the insurance and liability ramifications.

April 23, 2021
Predictions and Insights for VBS 2021
Predictions and Insights for VBS 2021

If your church is anything like mine, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big deal. Not just because it is central to our ministry’s outreach to young families, but because of the important role that VBS plays in the spiritual formation of children.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
April 19, 2021
Take Time to Review Your Ministry's Child Protection Plan
Take Time to Review Your Ministry's Child Protection Plan

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.

Tags: protect, risk management, child safety, child protection, youth, childcare
March 16, 2021
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now

When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.

Tags: weather emergency, lightning, storms, safety, protect
February 25, 2021
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles

Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.

Tags: protect, theft, vehicle
February 15, 2021
Grant Funds Available for Safeguarding Ministries
Grant Funds Available for Safeguarding Ministries

As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
February 5, 2021
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet

As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.

Tags: frozen, building, pipes, prevent damage
January 12, 2021
Potential Vulnerabilities in School's Safety Plan
Are there hidden vulnerabilities in your school's safety plan?

On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
January 5, 2021
Church Safety Trends for 2021
Church Safety Trends for 2021

If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
November 23, 2020
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season

Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
October 28, 2020
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy

A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.

Tags: coverage, protect, liability, damages, youth
October 1, 2020
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.

April 13, 2020
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams

Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.

Tags: fireworks
March 30, 2020
CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now
UPDATED: CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now

Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23. 

March 6, 2020
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention

As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.

January 29, 2020
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics

The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.

October 28, 2019
Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?
Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?

Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.

Tags: missions, insurance
September 11, 2019
Returning to Tornado-Damaged Areas
Returning to Tornado-Damaged Areas

If your ministry buildings were damaged as a result of these tornadoes, or if you plan on sending ministry volunteers out to assist with disaster recovery, be mindful of the dangers involved.

Tags: tornado, severe weather
September 1, 2019
IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance
IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance

Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.

Tags: ACA, IRS
July 3, 2019
Celebrate Safely This Independence Day
Celebrate Safely This Independence Day

July 4th is synonymous with food, fun, and fireworks. If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety, so that everyone can have fun.

Tags: fireworks, firework safety
June 28, 2019
Insurance is one of those things we forget about until we need it
Insurance is one of those things we forget about until we need it

National Insurance Awareness Day falls on June 28 this year to remind people everywhere that insurance is vital to their companies and ministries.

Tags: fireworks