Opinion—Like Your Health, Insurance Needs a Checkup
By Adrian D. Powell
Editor’s note—Views expressed in the following op-ed do not necessarily reflect those of Church of God Ministries, Inc., or its affiliates. We publish op-ed features to provoke thought, stimulate healthy discussion, and inspire us to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did. We’ve asked to hear from a diverse range of voices across the Church of God movement. This op-ed features two of these voices.
There are events that happen in the lives of our friends and relatives that remind us of our fragility and need for care of our health. And just as often, we are reminded that our financial health needs require an examination to make certain that we are on the correct path.
The fire that occurred right before the NACOG Camp Meeting should be a wake-up to both pastors and board members to have a talk with their insurance agent to be sure that the policies in force and coverage limits are up to current requirements to provide adequate restoration of losses in an emergency.
In my years as an insurance agent and financial services professional, I heard many people complain about their premiums—until they had a claim. And it was the same for property and casualty as it was for life insurance. Everyone wants the lowest-cost policy until they have a catastrophe, then they wish they had purchased more coverage.
Your agent should have an annual review with you for your personal life insurance coverages, as well as with the board of trustees or board of elders for the limits on the physical property of the church and liability coverage. Since inflation has been increasing substantially, it may be that your limits are not sufficient to replace the cost to rebuild or replace your buildings.
The cost to rebuild is often greater than the cost of the remainder of the mortgage, but the frequent thought is to only maintain the coverage necessary to pay off the mortgage in case of disaster, not rebuild. This can be thought of with as little irony as possible, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
There have been instances of institutions not getting the necessary coverage, particularly in the case of flood insurance, where they thought they were prepared for disaster only to find out after the fact that the very catastrophic occurrence they wanted to be insured for was, in fact, excluded from coverage because it was a flood.
Church boards should invite their agent to a meeting at least once a year to go over coverages and inflation rates to assure the coverage is adequate and make any needed adjustments. Your agent may also have presentations on trends in risk management that other churches have experienced that may impact your ministry, such as injuries in nursery care, safe playground spaces, and proper coverage for church vans and buses.
Additionally, churches with larger budgets and stable giving may consider using life insurance as a form of non-qualified deferred compensation by offering a permanent life insurance plan or providing a policy under split-dollar provisions with the proper documents and plan specifications.
These programs should only be implemented with the help of advanced market business life insurance specialists and attorneys.
Adrian Powell is pastor of Faith Community Church of God in Grove City, Ohio. He has been published in the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Call and Post, Columbus Post, and Vital Christianity. He has authored two books—The Jubilee Harvest and Resident Aliens: A Living Faith in a Hostile World, available at Amazon.com.
Brotherhood Mutual is a trusted partner of the Church of God. Their expertise includes, but it certainly not limited to, property coverage, liability insurance, ministry stewardship resources, and much more. With hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and disasters of various kinds affecting ministries of Church of God congregations everywhere, it’s vitally important that your church initiate periodic checkups to ensure adequate coverage and readiness. Visit their Church of God home page at www.brotherhoodmutual.com/ministry-partners/church-of-god to learn more.