As an organisation in service to your congregants and the public, your church or worship centre is obligated to take steps to ensure that people (and their property) on your premises or in your care are made as safe as possible. Failure to do so could result in claims being made against you for personal injuries or loss of or damage to property.
Insurance products such as public liability and management liability cover you for the cost of compensating claimants, in cases where acts or negligence on your part result in personal injuries and / or damage to or loss of their property.
As an example, you might be accused of negligence if you fail to take the necessary steps to protect people from injury on your property and a person is injured. Common examples of this include damaged steps or stairs that lead to trips and falls, or wet flooring that results in slips. Other common risky areas in church organisations include falling branches, youth group activities, and alleged abuse.
However, if someone does sue you for negligence, it has to be proved that it (negligence) actually occurred. This means any claims made against you will be judged against what is known as the ‘Reasonable Person Test’. It also means you do not need to be concerned by unreasonable or frivolous claims, or where a person has experienced loss or injury as a result of their own actions rather than yours.
CCI provides several types of liability insurance that offer financial protection for your organisation. These are:
General Liability (Public and Products)
This covers compensation in respect of personal injury, property damage or advertising injury, and any related defence costs. Exclusions include professional indemnity (see below), employers liability, registered motor vehicles, second-hand electrical goods (unless tested and tagged), terrorism, known sexual abuse offenders, and several others – page 8 of the Summary of Insurance document has more information.
Applies to cases where directors and officers (including employees) are alleged to have caused harm through wrongful acts (such as misleading statements and breaches of trust), and includes defence costs.
Management Liability (Crime Coverage)
Provides cover for several types of acts including employee theft of a person’s property, losses arising out of robbery of your premises, fraud (including computer and credit card fraud), forgery, and money in transit.
Professional Indemnity provides cover for individuals or organisations offering professional services to clients such as legal and financial advice. However it is also relevant for church organisations for services such as counselling, pastoral care and prayer ministry. More detail can be found from our previous article on the topic.
What to do in the event of a claim
If someone makes a claim against you for damages, it’s important to proceed cautiously:
- Acknowledge the claim, but do not admit liability until you have contacted your insurance provider – this includes verbally, in writing, or by offering compensation.
- Document everything that takes place, even if it seems minor. Do not complete forms or documents in front of the claimant.
- If the claimant was injured, complete all the necessary injury / incident report forms.
- Advise the claimant that you will be consulting with your insurance provider.
- Complete a liability claim form from our forms page.
More information on what to do in the event of the claim can be found on page 24 of the Summary of Insurance.
Even if no claim is made against you for damages, it’s important to diligently report all incidents of injury or loss to people on your premises or in your care, and to take steps to prevent further injuries or losses from occurring if necessary.
For more information on this topic, see our article on common liability risks and exclusion activities for church organisations. For a church insurance quote complete our request form, or get in contact with Russell Hoath or Liz Matheson.
Tags: health & safety, insurance, risk management