Valuable Information to Help You Protect Your Ministry
When you think about community traditions, churches are at the heart of them. From rummage sales and voting locations to trunk or treat and Christmas programs, no other building is used for such a variety of events as a church. While opening your doors to the community is the nature of ministries, you should be aware what you're opening the door to.
When you allow a person, an entity, a township etc., to use your property in any capacity you are also allowing them to use your insurance. Their liability is now your liability. Their lawsuit is now your lawsuit. We are not suggesting you bar the doors and dig a moat in order to defend your ministry, however there are practical solutions you can implement to ensure you are protected. So how do you know who to let in, and what procedures to follow? Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away was a Church. This Church was a pillar of the community. One day, the town council asked the church if they would help them with the annual town parade. The Church, always willing to oblige in local events, agreed and asked what they could do to help. The council explained that since the church was on the parade route, they would like to set up bouncy houses on their lawn. The Church remembered a risk management blog they once read advising them to ask for a certificate of insurance, and the city provided one. To make sure it was filled out correctly they sent for their trusted adviser, Sir Insurance Agent. He reviewed the certificate only to discover the Church was not listed as an additional insured on the policy! (Gasp) He advised the Church to have the city correct this at once, so that the city's insurance policy would protect the Church in case of any bouncy house mishaps. The Church called the city only to discover that they could not add them as an additional insured because their policy excluded coverage for bouncy houses! The Church had been tricked into taking on all the liability for the city's bouncy houses because they were on their property. The End.
I'll give you a moment to recover from that shocking story.....
Now you know what procedure to follow if you are ever part of a parade, but what do you if the boy scouts, home school group, men's basketball club or women's quilting circle ask to use your facility?
Step one is to evaluate the potential liability of those asking to be on your premises. The women's quilting circle is far less likely to have an injury compared to the men's basketball club.
If you are dealing with a group that has an insurance policy, like the boy scouts, you ask for a certificate of insurance listing you as an additional insured. You also have them fill out a Church Facility Usage and Hold Harmless Agreement. Where does one find such a fancy sounding document? You're in luck! We provide all our risk management documents to our clients for free. Simply log-in to our website and visit our Risk Management Document section to automatically download to your heart's content.
If the group does not have an insurance policy, like a home school group, you can still request them to fill out the Church Facility Usage and Hold Harmless Agreement. Simply remove the insurance requirements section.
Not sure if letting the flame throwing jugglers practice in your gym is such a good idea? Give us a call and ask! We are always happy to advise what procedures or documents will best protect your ministry. Want to learn how to tell if a certificate of insurance is filled out correctly? Stay tuned for more blog posts!
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