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Safety 101: A Church Leader’s Guide To Risk Management

The majority of the responsibilities that churches and other charitable organizations have in their daily operations are legal: governance, employment, tax issues, intellectual property, real estate, and more. They also have a range of stakeholders to account for, including church members, contributors, personnel, national affiliates, and so on.

Risk management is more critical than ever before, yet due to a lack of resources and a focus on organizational programs and initiatives, it is often overlooked. Annual regulatory filings, compliance with federal and state employment regulations, program supervision and security, updating by-laws and other government documents to comply with the organization’s mission, property ownership issues, and tax exemption are all important considerations for churches and charitable organizations like non-profits.

A church

If you’re a leader of a church, this blog will help you explain how to manage risks in your church efficiently.

Anticipate Risks and Be Ready

A good leader isn’t a person who only reacts the best. It’s a person who is best prepared to react. A good leader always takes a proactive approach instead of a reactive one. Prepare yourself for the prospect of danger. To predict risk, you must conduct an organization-wide study that takes into account not just the current condition, but also any potential threats in the future. While no one could have predicted COVID-19’s tremendous and swift impact, the pandemic that followed has taught us the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.

Prioritizing the Risks

A good leader knows the good of the church is the foremost priority and prioritizes the risks and manages them accordingly. Assessing the most vulnerable areas of your organization will help you prioritize the risks. For example, if you run a children’s program, you’ll want to have clearly stated abuse prevention policies in place, as well as training and background screening for the employees or volunteers who run it. Because church violence is becoming more common, you should have adequate security and employees in place to keep an eye on any potential problems.

To prioritize your property risk exposures, use a church property loss control inspection checklist.  This allows churches to review needed fixes and place them in order or importance.  For instance, life safety building issues would be placed in high priority and refreshing paint would be lower on the priority list.

Assign Risk Management Duties

No matter how good of a leader you are, you can’t do it all alone. You’ll have to trust your team with responsibility. In order to implement proactive risk management measures, a dedicated team of managers is required. Risk mitigation should be a major element of every manager’s responsibilities in most organizations so that the benefit of risk management is known throughout the firm.

A formally dressed professional

Regular Review of Strategies

A good leader knows risk management is not as simple as making a policy or a strategy and leaving it be. Managing risks requires regular review and updates of the strategies and policies. Regularly monitoring risk exposure and management techniques will ensure that your firm is ready to respond in the event of any risk or hazard, such as a security threat, a bad employee, or any other situation that poses a threat to the organization.

Church Insurance is a Risk Management Technique

Obtaining and reviewing your church liability insurance and church property insurance is an important risk management strategy.  Having church property insurance in place is known as risk transfer.  When an unexpected loss happens, a church is able to transfer its liability to the church insurance company.  This will insulate the organization from experiencing a financial loss.

Other Methods of Risk Transfer Mechanisms

There are a number of other risk management techniques, where a church is able to transfer liability risk away from their organization.

These include the following:

  1. An indemnification clause in contracts
  2. Hold harmless agreement
  3. Waiver of subrogation

By requiring these three items from your outside vendors who work on your church property, this will provide further protection against a loss from one of their workers.  While we can’t protect ourselves from every type of risk exposure, we can greatly reduce some of our exposures when we implement some or all of these risk management strategies.

The best way to minimize risks is to get your church or non-profit organization insured. If you’re looking for a church insurance company, Integrity Now Insurance provides personalized church insurance policies in multiple states, including Arizona, Ohio, Washington, California, and Nevada. Our insurance brokers can help you get general liability insurance, business auto insurance, workers compensation insurance, directors and officers insurance, abuse and molestation insurance, and more for nonprofits and faith-based organizations. Contact us now for further information.

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