Just like traditional businesses, religious organizations need insurance to protect against any number of events that could put them at a financial loss. While these organizations have many of the same concerns as other employers, there are some unique differences that present opportunities for brokers and benefit professionals to work with clients in this space.

Regardless of size, scope or denomination, religious groups serve as a community resource, providing comfort during times of exceptional distress and relief from the trials of daily tension.

Think about a church. Aside from regular services, it provides religious education, day care, youth and adult social groups, athletics, volunteer activities, summer camps, mission trips and other events on a regular basis. The church can’t ignore the reality that with all these people and activities, someone is likely to get injured. 

Brokers can work with churches and other organizations to obtain liability insurance to protect them when it is liable for damages caused to another or another’s property. Accident products can be the best approach. Often with a single annual policy, optional accident limits and a single, low individual minimum premium, these products can keep religious organizations protected throughout the year, with additional opportunities to add exposures as needed.

In addition to liability coverage, religious organizations have full-time, paid employees. They need medical and retiree benefits just like any other type of employee. With all the health care reform changes being implemented through the Affordable Care Act, churches now have the option of sending retirees to the public exchanges, but that can be a controversial decision. Brokers can guide these clients to consider a specialized retiree medical insurance program that meets the unique needs of retired clergy and other lay employees. Additionally, when a third-party administrator is brought in to handle every aspect of benefit administration from billing to policy renewals, organizations can free up their staff to focus on other issues.

Aside from accident policies and retiree insurance, other traditional benefits that religious organizations typically require include:

  • Professional liability or acts, and errors & omissions coverage
  • Business auto (if the organization owns vehicles)
  • Workers’ compensation (depending on state laws)

In today’s health benefits environment, it’s increasingly difficult for religious organizations to find cost-effective insurance coverage that meets their needs. Brokers who can step in and learn the business of religion will be well-suited to bring in new clients and keep them protected against financial loss with a combination of relevant and cost-efficient solutions.
Fleet is president of AmWINS Group Benefits, a wholesale broker of comprehensive group insurance programs and administrative services.

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