COVID-19 Church & Charity Update BulletinFaith
RE: INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS FROM CLIENTS
While our world continues to adapt to the widespread implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the continuing government authority order closures of non-essential workplaces and bans on public gatherings, we are also working through the insurance and risk management implications with our valued church and charity client organizations.
As an essential workplace, our brokers, our underwriters and our customer service representatives are available to provide advice, resources and continuing protection.
One of most common questions from board members, administrators, treasurers and pastors is “how can we reduce our insurance costs during this difficult period?
It’s an understandable question as organizations seek to limit expenses in anticipation of reduced revenues, whether it’s tithes, offerings or rental income for churches; tuitions for schools; fees and subsidies for camping ministries and daycares; or reduced donations from individuals and corporations for a wide variety of parachurch ministries, community associations and missions, relief and development organizations.
Unfortunately the answer is not easy or straightforward when it comes to reducing premium dollars. That’s because property and liability insurance is largely a fixed cost, based on a wide variety of risks that don’t shut down. These risks are addressed through various coverages that include;
Loss or Damage to
And of course, Liability
The reality is that many of those risks have actually increased during the current lockdown, rather than being reduced versus normal operations. Following is a brief overview of the major coverage parts contained in most of our client organization’s Church & Charity Protection Plus policies (check your policy for full details):
Covers your building(s), contents and equipment for insurable loss or damage, including common perils such as fire, smoke, explosion, windstorm, arson, vandalism, theft, and water damage. When a premises is unoccupied or vacant such as during the current lockdown, it is actually at much great risk of loss or damage from these perils. Most faith charities have little or no past experience with a building vacancy. However the fact is that the cost of insurance is often 300% to 400% more for a vacant building than for an occupied building because of the much higher claims experience! One of the measures that Robertson Hall Insurance took on behalf of all of its clients early on as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, was to have “Vacancy Permit” coverage automatically “read in” to all of our Church, Camp, School and Charity Protection Plus policies. This means that the coverages normally excluded under the terms of a policy after a certain period of vacancy, such as for theft, vandalism and water damage claims, continue in full force and effect during the period of government closures as long as your organization meets the minimum requirements of the Vacancy Permit conditions, including checking your premises inside and out by a qualified person a minimum of every seventy-two (72) hours. For full details please refer to our previous March 27, 2020 bulletin HERE.
We’re also pleased to say that we were able to obtain this Vacancy Permit coverage at no extra premium for our client organizations, despite the increased risk!
General Liability covers your organization, board members, employees, members and volunteers for third party legal liability (i.e. lawsuits) arising out of bodily injury, mental anguish, counselling, libel, slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, and if you have the Directors and Officers Liability option; you have coverage for breach of fiduciary duties, employment practices including wrongful dismissal, privacy breach, and so on. While some liability risks as the result of closure of non-essential workplaces/premises and bans on public gatherings may be lesser due to reduced operations, other risks have increased, including:
- Directors and Officers Liability claims relating to breach of fiduciary duties in making difficult financial decisions with respect to the organization’s designated and undesignated donations, investments, budgets, etc.
- Employment Practices Liability claims relating to laying off employees. Although this coverage does not cover what an employer otherwise owes in accordance with ESA standards and common law, it does cover other insurable aspects of a wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal claim, including employment-related humiliation, harassment and discrimination.
- Privacy Breach Liability and Expense claims relating to the breach of personal information held electronically (or hard copy) by the organization, including for employees, members, donors, and participants. Unintentional disclosure of personal information is at a much higher risk in a work-from-home environment when the normal in-office computer firewalls, encryption, password protection, anti-virus, malware and other protocols are not in place.
In recognition of the importance of maintaining this protection for your organization’s assets and leaders, following is an overview of the Renewal Payment Options, along with available Premium Discounts for certain organizations.
RENEWAL PAYMENT OPTIONS
Effective immediately, all of our Church and Charity renewals will be sent out in the form of a Renewal Offer with revised premium payment options, rather than automatic renewal coverage. The advance payment options include full payment, down payment on a 3-Pay Plan, and an extended payment plan subject to 25% down with the balance due by monthly payments, subject to the applicable service charge on the contract.
For full details regarding the available payment plans please read HERE.
We are encouraging organizations with significantly reduced revenue to take advantage of the extended payment plan during this challenging period. For your convenience we will automatically fill in your renewal and premium details on an extended plan contract and lay out the terms of this optional payment method for your review and approval.
IMPORTANT: YOUR SIGNED PAYMENT PLAN CONTRACT, FULL PAYMENT OR DOWNPAYMENT WITH POST-DATED CHEQUES AS DESCRIBED IN THE ATTACHED OPTIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE PRIOR TO YOUR RENEWAL DATE, OTHERWISE ALL COVERAGE WILL CEASE AS OF THE RENEWAL DATE.
In addition to the long-standing premium discounts Robertson Hall has offered for increased deductibles, monitored security systems, affiliation with certain sponsoring denominations and for membership with the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC), we are also offering additional discounts to the following types of organization organizations during the current COVID-19 closures:
- Seasonal camps required to close during the 2020 summer camping season
- Daycares closed during 2020 for two (2) months, or more
Please contact a Church or Charity Customer Service broker at our office for more details, including the written documentation required to apply for these discounts.
As a helpful reminder for those organizations with AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE covering a bus, passenger van or utility vehicle, whether insured through Robertson Hall or another insurance company (including provincial government auto insurance in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia) please contact your insurance representative if you are not currently using your vehicle(s) as you may be able to realize significant premium savings by removing all road coverages (i.e. Third Party Liability, Accident Benefits and Collision) leaving coverage for Comprehensive only while the vehicle is parked during the current lockdown period.
PLAN TO PROTECT ONLINE ENGAGEMENT UPDATE
SAFE online engagement with children and youth at this time is so important. You are missing your ‘kids’ and they are missing you. You haven’t forgotten them. How do you communicate effectively and SAFELY? Plan to Protect has created a Video Platform Policy which you can integrate into your children’s and youth programs, designed to be conveniently added to your Abuse Prevention Policy during this time to provide wise ways to do ministry during a Pandemic. THESE VALUABLE RESOURCES are FREE.
Go the link HERE to find out more.
To access the plan you’ll just need to provide some basic contact information. They will send a link to your e-mail address for the resources including a FREE recorded webinar called “Safety Online and Community Engagement”. There is also a Policy Statement called “Video Platform Use” policy template for you to .
Plan to Protect may send you further updates as they become available, as well as other suggestions to make your programs safe. We wish to thank Plan to Protect for making these resources available to all our clients during this time – not just P2P members! Other resources continue to be available for normal fees although you may find a discount coupon included on the landing page.
We hope that this bulletin has been helpful and we wish your organization, your members and the communities you serve, God’s peace that passes all understanding during this challenging season.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Kenneth A. Hall, President
Kenneth A. Hall, B.A. (Hons), R.F. is the President of Robertson Hall Insurance Inc. Ken specializes in customized insurance and risk management advise for over 7,000 churches and charities across Canda with the Church and Charity Protection Plus program. To find out more about Ken and the team click here. To find out more about Church and Charity Protection Plus click here.