In each location, the event consistently brings together the major segments of the industry including insurance, reinsurance, brokers, modelling companies, technology providers, regulators and institutional investors.
I wrote this piece in an effort to pass on some valuable knowledge I accumulated during nearly nine years in the church insurance field.
I figure there are some church administrators and board members who could use this and might stumble across it while searching the net for information.
A 3o minute internet radio broadcast of this information is now available at by clicking on the player in the right-hand sidebar. It includes additional stories and examples not included in the printed version. You can listen to the broadcast at the link, or download it to your computer or iPod so it can be shared with your church staff or other pastors or leaders who could benefit from this information.
Now, why would a guy who usually writes and talks about politics want to do a post about church insurance? During those years I handled everything from little bitty start up congregations with 20 people meeting in a school cafeteria, to a 7, member megachurch with tens of millions of dollars worth of buildings and property and every activity known to man.
I had conservative Baptist churches, Pentecostal churches, stuffy Presbyterian churches, mysterious Asian religions, a couple of mosques, independents of all types, and a fair number of cults. During my countless hours on the road I often thought that if churches knew what I knew about the various pricing tricks insurance companies use to mysteriously find savings when a competitor comes calling, my life as an agent would be a lot tougher and churches would be paying a lot less in premium.
Church insurance is not a ministry. It can help support you as you perform your ministry, but the companies are not providing coverage as a charitable act.
However, churches tend to put more trust than they should in church insurance companies just because they work primarily with churches. That trust will cost you a lot of money.
If an agent walks into your office carrying a Bible, throw him out! He may be a good guy, and may even be a dedicated Christian, but as your agent, the two of you are in a business relationship and you have to remember that The larger church clients of mine often had full time staff members who served as administrators.
These people were sometimes pastors with administrative backgrounds, or lay administrators with business management backgrounds. I enjoyed working with professional administrators since they had a great deal of knowledge about the subject and understood the importance of proper coverage.
They could also be challenging, thanks to their business savvy and concern for the bottom line. Smaller churches often had volunteer lay leaders, perhaps the pastor himself, or even the church secretary handling the insurance program. There were several occasions when I had to make a pitch to the part-time secretary who was then supposed to pass all my information on to the church board.
With all that having been said, here are a few rules you should take to heart when working with your insurance program: When you start to value your agent more than you value the ministry dollars you have to work with, you set yourself up for needless costs.
Your agent works for you — make him earn his money. Be observant for things that can generate claims, because claims are your worst enemy when it comes to keeping your insurance costs down. Insurers assess loss ratios based on the dollar amount of claims paid versus the dollar amount in premium collected.
For property claims, use your deductible as a guideline.
It will save you money in the long run. And speaking of deductibles, choose the highest deductible you can afford to pay on your own. Underwriters are more likely to grant credits on policies with high deductibles more about credits later. So, how do they increase your rates even though there hasn't been a rate change?
There's a little tool called "Special Risk Rating Credits" that can be applied to many policies that have the effect of adjusting the rates up or down according to the whims of the agent and the underwriter.ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:: Catholic News Agency (CNA).
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