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Church Liability Insurance – Why Contract Wording Within Your Policy Matters

Our Insurance Agency, specialize in church property insurance and church liability insurance.

We review church insurance policies each day, and work to help churches understand what they currently have in place.

We also show them if there are any gaps in their coverages and how we can fill those gaps.

When we conduct an insurance review, we are not only reviewing the specific coverage limits, but we also review the contract insurance wording within these policies.

We know that the language within the policy, matters more than the coverage limits shown on the declarations page of your policy.

We love helping churches, and would love to help your church.

Church Liability Insurance

As church insurance brokers, we work with a number of insurance companies that will cover a church.  Depending on the church we are talking with, can alter which insurance company we believe will be your best fit.

Following is a List of Insurance Companies that will write insurance for churches.

By no means is this is a complete list of church liability insurance companies. Many churches have found themselves insured with one or a few of these church insurance companies.

While some of these companies do provide excellent coverage, most of these insurance companies either do not offer a comprehensive policy that includes all the needed coverages, or the policy language is written in the church liability insurance companies favor and not the church’s best interest.

Why Church liability insurance matters

What Specific Church Liability Insurance Coverage Matters

When a church is considering obtaining a quote for church liability insurance, it will be important to obtain quotes from church liability insurance companies that truly specialize in church insurance.  Several of the companies listed above, while they will provide insurance for churches, they do not offer some of the key coverages a church needs to have.

Following are a list of church liability insurance coverages a church needs:

These are some of the main coverages, churches should have in place to protect them from church liability insurance claims.  When reviewing your church liability insurance, these are some of the coverages we are reviewing on the surface to see if they are included on a churches policy.

Once they are found contained within your policy, we begin to review the actual coverage limits, and the contract language within the policy.  We want to know what each of these companies have agreed or not agreed too, related to the coverages they state on the declarations page are being provided.

Church Liability Insurance Language matters

How Does The Church Liability Insurance Policy Language Affect Churches

When evaluating the insurance limits of two different church liability insurance companies, they can appear to look exactly the same, however, they can have dramatically different coverage based on the language within the policy itself.  Here are a couple examples of these differences.

Church Liability Insurance Company A –  from the list above dealing with Abuse & Molestation Insurance

The below language comes directly from the insurance companies policy.

Molestation/corruption act means:

  1. any act directed against a person under the age of 18 that would be considered a criminal act under any applicable federal, state or local statute, ordinance or law relating to sexual offenses or the corruption of minors; or
  2. any act or conduct involving a minor that involves exhibitionism, voyeurism, the creation, distribution or display of pornography, sensual touching, sexually explicit communication, or any similar act or conduct that may reasonably be anticipated to harm or corrupt a minor; or any other act directed against a person who is, or who is believed to be, under the age of 18 that may reasonably be assumed to have been undertaken for the purpose of obtaining sexual arousal or sexual gratification or that would otherwise serve to corrupt a minor. This does not include acts of sexual intimacy between persons who are married to one another.

This Additional Coverage does not apply, however, to any bodily injury, personal injury or emotional injury that:

  1. is sustained by your employee or your job applicant; or
  2. arises directly or indirectly out of any discriminatory act; or
  3. arises out of any sexual harassment of any kind; or
  4. arises out of any error in reporting a sexual act to any law enforcement authority, government agency or other entity.
  5. arises out of the failure to supervise or monitor ANY convicted sexual offender who is on your premises or involved in your organizational activities.

Definition:

An error in reporting a sexual act will be deemed to have occurred at:

  1. the time that the covered person first had a reasonable basis for believing that the sexual act had occurred or (2) at the point that an erroneous report was first made, whichever is later.

Our Interpretation of Insurance Company A – This is a well-known Church Liability Insurance Company policy language. 

  1. The definition for coverage to be granted related to molestation or sexual abuse limits the coverage to kids who are under the age of 18.  This means if someone is 18 years or older there is NO COVERAGE and the church would be 100% financially responsible.
  2. Sex Misconduct is NOT COVERED if there is an error in reporting to law enforcement as defined by the policy. Many churches delay in reporting these incidents for several weeks or months, out of fear of a multitude of issues.  How do we define reasonable basis?  I would argue it is reasonable once someone tells you of the event, that you now should notify authorities immediately.
  3. The last item noted is a big issue. It states you will have NO COVERAGE if you fail to supervise or monitor ANY convicted sex offender on your premises or involved in a church activities.  This does NOT mention a KNOWN SEX OFFENDER.  This means as a church you will need to conduct background checks on all church members and visitors who walk on your property, or go to a church sponsored beach party, picnic, camping, and so on.

This is a major get out of paying a claim loophole from a church insurance company who actually does specializes in church insurance. They have included language that virtually strips the coverage a church is paying money for, with little chance of being covered.

Church Liability Insurance Company B – from the list above dealing with Abuse & Molestation Insurance

“Abuse” means any actual, threatened, or alleged act, error, omission, conduct or misconduct that a claim or “suit” alleges:

  1. To be, or to constitute, any form of “abuse” (including but not limited to elder “abuse”, child “ abuse”, patient “abuse” or “abuse” of a dependent person) under any applicable state or federal statute; and
  2. Any non-sexual assault, non-sexual battery, or non-sexual “abuse” directed at a person; and

Conduct or misconduct described above constitutes “abuse” regardless of whether or not it is alleged to be negligent, reckless, knowing, intentional, fraudulent, oppressive, malicious, or otherwise.

However, “abuse” does not include employment-related “sexual harassment”.

“Sexual misconduct or sexual molestation” means any activity which is sexual in nature (whether permitted or not permitted); and includes, but is not limited to: sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual relations, sexual acts, sexual activity, sexual handling, sexual massage, sexual exploitation, sexual exhibition, sexual stimulation, fondling, intimacy, exposure of sexual organs, lewd or lascivious behavior or indecent exposure, fornication, unauthorized touching, or the photographic, video or other reproduction of sexual activity.

However, “sexual misconduct or sexual molestation” does not include employment-related “sexual harassment”.

Duties In The Event Of An Occurrence, Claim Or Suit Consistent with the Insuring Agreement contained within Coverage SL:

  1. Occurrence Or Incident Reporting

You must see to it that we are notified within thirty (30) days of the date you become aware of any “sexual misconduct occurrence”, incident or circumstance which may reasonably be expected to result in a claim. To the extent possible, notice should include:

(1) How, when and where the “sexual misconduct occurrence”, incident or circumstance took place; and

(2) The names and addresses of any injured persons and witnesses.

Our Interpretation of Insurance Company B – This is a well-known Church Liability Insurance Company policy language

  1. This language is NOT limiting the coverage down to only kids under the age of 18. It further clarifies that coverage is also included for elderly and but continues to state not limited too.
  2. There is no error in reporting in a reasonable time to law enforcement. They only require you notify the Insurance Company within 30 days of knowledge of a claim.
  3. There is NO obligation or expectation placed on a church of monitoring, tracking, pursuing, ANY sex offender.  This expectation is simply uncalled for, and places a exstream burden on churches.

As you can see there is a major difference between these two well-known church liability insurance companies.  Church liability insurance company A goes out of their way to restrict coverage, and Company B writes their policy in a very broad manor.

Church liability insurance company B is working to give insurance coverage to churches, not restrict the coverage by placing impossible burdens on a church organization.

This cannot be taken lightly and shows the importance of working with a church insurance agent, who is an expert in helping churches.  When you only review the insurance limits and the associated premium, you can put your church at risk of not having the needed insurance coverage.

We are here to make sure you have the needed liability insurance for your church.

Typical Church Liability Limits

What Are The Typical Church Liability Insurance limits

When it comes to church insurance, what are the typical church liability insurance coverage limits being offered?   Following we will outline many of the different coverage limits related to your church liability insurance.  It is important for churches to obtain all of the needed insurance, and it can be easy to have a gap in your coverage.  We work hard to ensure your churches insurance provides the needed protection at an affordable cost.

General liability insurance  

You can request higher church liability insurance coverage limits, from some insurance companies if they will allow for the higher limits.  These limits include the following.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT LIABILITY COVERAGE

When considering sexual misconduct coverage, it is important to obtain the needed protection for your church.  Here is one way to determine how much coverage you might want to consider based on your churches size.

Small Church 0-50 Church Members

Average Church 50-500 Church Members

Large Size Church & School – 500 or more Church Members

or

The size of your church does not need to govern the amount of insurance you obtain.  If your small or average size church feels more comfortable with higher limits, then you should request these higher abuse limits.

Directors and Officers Church Liability Insurance Limits

Directors and officers insurance protects your churches board members for the financial decisions they make on behalf of the organization.  It will typically provide a single coverage amount.  This amount is the following:

If the church liability insurance company provides a higher general liability limit, sometime this will push your directors and officers’ insurance limits higher as well.  While this is not always the case, it is something to consider and review.

Employment Practice Liability Insurance Coverage Limit

When considering this coverage, churches have several options to consider.  It is important to obtain this coverage, when a church has one or more employees who work for the church.  Following are some options in insurance coverages.

  1. $100,000 OCCURRENCE/AGGREGATE LIMIT FOR EPL
  2. $200,000 OCCURRENCE/AGGREGATE LIMIT FOR EPL
  3. $300,000 OCCURRENCE/AGGREGATE LIMIT FOR EPL
  4. $500,000 OCCURRENCE/AGGREGATE LIMIT FOR EPL
  5. $1,000,000 OCCURRENCE/AGGREGATE LIMIT FOR EPL

Depending on which church liability insurance company is offering this coverage, will depend on the specific insurance coverage limit that are available.  This coverage protects the organization from employment related issues.

Religious Expression Coverage

This coverage protects a churches long held religious beliefs.  For many years churches were not covered for their “beliefs” and were required to defend themselves without the protection of insurance.  In 2019, one insurance company came up with a solution to this very problem and shortly after a couple of others followed right behind to fill this gap in insurance. Following is typical coverage options available.

Religious Expression Coverage

If higher general liability limits are obtained, this could push up these coverage limit to look like the following.

Religious Expression Coverage

As this is a new coverage, we are waiting to see if insurance companies will increase the legal expense cost in the future.  As they are still evaluating the probability of this coverage, only time will tell how this coverage may evolve.

Church Pastoral Coverage

Pastoral coverage is typically provided as part of the general liability coverage limit.  Most insurance companies are not providing a separate standalone limit related to this coverage.  It is safe to assume if your church liability insurance policy includes this coverage it is a shared limit related toward your general liability coverage.

Professional Counseling Liability Coverage

If your church sponsors professional licensed counseling services for a fee.  The church liability insurance company will charge an additional fee for this coverage.  This is the result of the company providing a standalone policy that includes the following coverage limit.

The insurance company may also group this coverage under their general liability coverage form.  Each company has different ways in dealing with how they insured or group coverages together.

We Want To Be Your Church Liability Insurance Agency

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, prides itself in helping take care of churches throughout the USA.  We are one of the top church insurance brokers, and we are here to make sure you have the coverage you thought you were purchasing.

Make no mistake, there are lots of good insurance agents and insurance companies.  We have done the work for you so; you don’t need to become a church liability insurance expert.

We specialize in churches insurance and look forward to hearing from you.  We want the opportunity to review your insurance policy.

We will not only review your church liability insurance coverage, but also your churches Property Insurance, Workers’ Compensation insurance, Business Auto insurance, Umbrella policy and more.

We look forward to hearing from you.  You can either give us a call or complete our online church quote form.