Frequently Asked Questions
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Who do I contact with billing questions or to make a payment?
For Standard Group Life Insurance questions, call Innovo Benefits Administration at 800.829.5601.
For Church Mutual policy holders, call 800.554.2642.
For all other billing questions, contact us at 866.621.1787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I need to submit a claim. Who do I contact?
For Church Mutual policy holders, call 800.554.2642, option 2.
For all other claims, contact us at 866.662.8210 or email@example.com.
What is risk management and why is it important?
Insurance is not a substitute for proper risk management. This is the process of assessing the likelihood of an accident and its potential financial impact on your church—increased insurance premiums, damaged reputation, financial settlements, legal fees—and then taking steps to help prevent the accident before it happens. But more than just helping you avoid an expensive lawsuit, risk management is about protecting those you minister to. You’ve been entrusted with providing a safe place for people to learn, worship, and minister. Comprehensive risk management policies both maximize the safety of your congregation and minimize liability for your church.
For helpful articles, downloads, and videos, check out our Risk Management Resource Library.
What insurance coverage does my church need?
Every church needs two types of insurance: property and liability (casualty). Property insurance covers the things the church owns and should be calculated based on what it would cost to replace them (replacement cost value). Liability insurance covers actions that could leave the church liable for damage to others, including injuries, possessions, and reputations. In our experience, it is crucial for churches to at least have the following liability coverages:
- Sexual misconduct
- Directors, officers, and trustees (DOT)
- Business auto
- Hired and non-owned auto
- Pastoral counseling
- Workers’ compensation
For more information about property and liability insurance and to understand how much coverage your church needs, download The Essentials of Church Insurance.
What is key man insurance and who needs it?
Key man insurance is a life insurance policy for one or more lead pastors, administrators, etc. A key man policy is owned by the ministry and is meant to help compensate the ministry for the death of one of its key leaders. The death benefit can help a church show financial strength to creditors, conduct a proper search for a replacement without worrying about immediate financial needs, and promote a general succession plan.
Ministries should consider a key man policy for the following reasons and circumstances:
- To insure the life of any employee who has exceptional knowledge of the intricacies of the ministry
- When the reputation of the church is directly tied to the charisma of the pastor
- If a bank or lender is requiring a guarantee on their business loan(s)
To see how much coverage you need, check out Losing a Leader: How Key Man Insurance Can Help a Church Recover.
What property coverage is best—actual cash value or replacement cost—and what is a coinsurance penalty?
Most churches should secure coverage based on the replacement cost value. This will provide enough coverage to rebuild facilities or replace property with new items of like kind and quality. Make sure your agent does a Mitchell Swift Appraisal to determine the replacement cost for your building.
Churches might choose actual cash value if the facilities are in disrepair or the church would never rebuild that building type. Agents determine this value by taking the amount to replace the building or contents and then subtracting the accumulated depreciation.
Coinsurance is the percentage of insurance to the property value. Most companies require that a coinsurance rate of 80% or 90% of the property value be in place at the time of a loss. If this percentage is not met, a coinsurance penalty may result in the event of a claim. For example, if your property is worth $100,000 and the coinsurance requirement is 80%, there would need to be at least $80,000 of coverage in place to pay a claim without incurring a penalty. This penalty could be costly. It is determined by taking the amount of coverage you have and dividing it by the amount of coverage you should have according to the coinsurance requirement. Continuing with the above example, if you have $40,000 of coverage instead of $80,000 (50% of the amount required), the insurance company may penalize you by paying only 50% of your loss.
How to avoid a coinsurance penalty:
In addition to insuring your property according to its replacement cost, ask your agent for an “Agreed Value” endorsement on your policy. This waives any potential coinsurance penalty. There is a small additional cost with most insurance carriers to add this endorsement.
Who needs Workers’ Compensation insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is needed for all churches. It is not subject to a deductible and includes medical payments for all employees as well as disability payments until the employee can return to work.
We were asked to be named as an additional insured. What does that mean?
Agreeing to be named as an additional insured splits your liability with the other party. As a result, your insurance may have to provide defense if the other party is negligent.