Churches in the United States are not exempt from the effects of a litigious society. In fact, churches face a unique exposure to litigation as religious organizations have started to become somewhat of a target for those who may disagree with its message. Add to that the children’s programs, community outreach events, reliance on volunteer support, and fiduciary responsibility of finance committees, and you can see how a church needs to be very thoughtful and intentional about how they protect themselves and their congregations.
In this article, I want to help you identify the top 5 liability coverages that can give churches peace of mind, even when faced with these challenges. This list is over and above the normal General Liability, Workers Compensation, Directors & Officers liability, Counseling Liability etc.. I want to address the often neglected, but just as important coverages that your church should consider.
Violent Acts Expense
Many companies with good church programs offer coverage similar to this. This coverage was designed for active shooter incidents, or other acts of violence in the church. It pays for the individual medical expenses of those injured in a situation like this, as well as pays to provide traumatic counseling to those who need it. Click here to see how prepared your church is against an act of violence.
One of the most critical coverages that a church should consider is cyber liability. This coverage becomes more important every day, as cyber-attacks continue to rise, and cybercriminals become more sophisticated. This coverage can protect your church from a data breach, which could jeopardize valuable information, such as employee records and credit card information. Cyber insurance can also help protect you from loss of income that results in a cyber attack. Click here to check out Tony’s article on protecting your organization from a cyberattack.
Employment Practice Liability
This coverage is important because it protects the church from employee to employment lawsuits. These claims generally stem from sexual harassment, age or race discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.. These are one of the fastest-growing types of lawsuits across the country, and churches are not exempt. Click here to read Jim’s blog on Employment Practice Liability.
Acts of Discrimination/Religious Liberty liability
There is a growing tension between society and churches that hold to a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. This coverage is designed to protect churches from lawsuits that could stem from holding to their views on marriage, or gender identity issues. It is a very important coverage for churches in our current social climate. You can learn more about protecting your church from these types of lawsuits by clicking here.
Sexual Misconduct Liability
Arguably the most important coverage that a church can carry is sexual misconduct liability. Any organization that works with children and youth is at an increased risk of these types of claims. Churches also have increased exposure of one on one counseling on top of this. This coverage is designed to protect the organization if a staff member or volunteer were to act irresponsibly and commit a sexual act. The coverage also provides defense costs for real or false allegations. Churches have increased exposure in this area, and therefore have a greater responsibility to protect their congregation from abuse. Read the article I wrote on protecting your congregation from sexual abusers by clicking here.
If you have questions regarding these coverages or your insurance, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. We are here for your peace of mind!