Foreign Liability for Churches

Jim Tice
Written on January 28, 2019

Virtually all churches on occasion send members or employees on mission trips or speaking engagements outside the United States. Many of these trips are taken with the mistaken assumption the church’s insurance policies will cover them. In other situations, coverage may be purchased for injuries the person traveling might sustain without realizing there are many other things that can happen for which there is no coverage.

Did you know that regardless of where a complaint occurs, an organization managed in the U.S. can be sued in the U.S.? The number of legal suits brought in the U.S. from outside entities is growing, as are the settlements arising from such suits.

Mishaps that are handled with ease in the U.S. can snowball on foreign soil, where domestic policies will not provide adequate coverages. Who assumes the risk when an employee becomes seriously ill, crashes a rental car, or is detained by foreign authorities? Are you covered if a laptop goes missing overseas? More than 1,000 people are kidnapped each year while traveling outside the U.S. on business. Is your church prepared to handle the potential consequences?

As a rule, church insurance policies provide protection in the U.S., Canada, and their territories or possessions. It’s possible a church representative could cause an injury or have an auto accident in another country. This could result in a lawsuit in the U.S. If this happens, the church would have to pay its own legal fees as well as any judgements against it.

For this reason, we recommend every church consider purchasing a Foreign Liability policy any time they send someone abroad. While the minimum premium on these policies is $2,500 (and we have never seen one cost more) and might seem expensive, they may include many benefits, including:

Commercial General Liability

Provides a safety net if your church is taken to court as the result of an injury in a foreign country.

Employers Responsibility

Voluntary compensation and related coverages that address accidents and illnesses abroad.

24/7 Access to Professionals

These professionals are thoroughly familiar with local customs, languages, and pertinent regulations.

Cost of Repatriation

When an employee is injured overseas, the cost to bring them back is covered.

Kidnap & Extortion

Pays the ransom if employees or their families are kidnapped outside the U.S.

Automobile Liability

In case a rented or borrowed vehicle is insured inadequately.

Commercial Property

Protects against damage and destruction of property outside the U.S.

If your church is considering a trip outside the U.S. give us a call. We can help you decide if a Foreign Liability policy is something you should have.