December 16, 2015
Think about your ministry’s board members and administrators: the work they do is important to your organization, and they are often volunteers with other full-time jobs. Did you know these board members could face personal liability and financial damages as a results of unjust leadership actions?
Sometimes ministry directors find themselves in situations where they have failed to maintain adequate financial records or exceeded the authority granted by the church’s bylaws. Circumstances like these make it important to consider Directors and Officers liability coverage (D&O) to protect your organization’s board members, administrators, trustees, directors, and officers.
D&O coverage helps protect the personal assets of your ministry’s leaders in the event that they or your ministry become obligated to pay financial damages as the result of wrongful leadership decisions or activities. Depending on the insurance provider, this coverage also includes a limited amount of defense funds for your ministry to use to mount a defense in the event you are sued. Some policies include spouses of ministry leaders when they are engaged in ministry activities.
Insurance policies usually define a director or officer as a leader, specifically serving as a board member, administrator, director, officer, or trustee, and acting within the scope of the leadership authority granted by the bylaws of an organization.
This coverage protects directors and officers when they are held personally liable for financial damages that result from their actions as board members. These damages must result from the failure of leaders to perform their duties in a proper way.
D&O provides defense funds to refute a claim or to prove immunity under the law. Even if your state has legislation protecting nonprofit directors and officers from lawsuits, you still may need D&O insurance. In some cases, the statutes specify activities for which immunity is intended, but they typically don’t protect the organization. With D&O coverage, the organization is protected in relation to covered financial damage claims.
Individuals in directors and officers positions are a vital part of any ministry. They need to be protected in unforeseen circumstances, making it especially important to consider the benefits of D&O liability coverage. Other aspects of your ministry are protected by insurance, why shouldn’t directors and officers be protected, too?
Snow skiing. Camping. Whitewater rafting. A youth group trip can give students an exciting diversion from their weekly routines, as well as an opportunity to strengthen healthy friendships. Off-site activities may challenge your students to step outside of their comfort zones a bit, but this can bring about a positive result.
If you are in the process of planning a mission trip for your church group, make sure to think carefully about insurance, safety, and security as you hammer out the details. Extra preparation could minimize headaches when your group arrives on the mission field.
Has your church or school ever been asked to loan one of your vans or buses to another? Before you decide to loan your ministry vehicles to another organization, seriously consider the potential risks associated with such a decision.
Completing a personal property inventory of your church or ministry could be one of the wisest activities you can pursue. If disaster strikes and you file an insurance claim, you may need an inventory highlighting damaged items.
Have you thought through potential dangers that may confront your ministry? Taking steps to consider and address these risks provides important protection from injuries, lawsuits, fires, and dozens of other hazards that may affect your ministry, especially your employees and those you serve.
Small businesses—including churches and related ministries—can once again pay premiums for their employees’ health insurance. Previously known as an Employer Payment Plan (EPP) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), these arrangements violated the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, due to a recently passed law, ministries that are not part of a group health plan now have another option to help employees with health care costs.
Ministries beware: An email scheme, designed to coincide with tax season, asks payroll and human resource professionals to disclose employees’ personal information. Think you wouldn’t fall for such a scam? You might, if the email looks as if it came from someone in your ministry.
Under federal law, most ministers have dual tax status. Dual tax status means a minister is an employee of the church for federal income tax purposes, and self-employed for Social Security and Medicare taxes. Here’s what you need to know.
Lawsuits against churches and ministries are on the rise, making their board members especially vulnerable. Sometimes, courts have found directors and officers personally liable when their actions have resulted in financial damages.
Incorporation takes the weight of responsibility off the shoulders of individuals and instead, places it on the organization. In contrast, a court may find all members of an unincorporated church legally responsible for negligent or criminal actions committed by one church member.
Ministries commonly store a variety of personal information about their members and the people who support them. Mailing lists and donation records may be the most familiar repositories of personal information; however, the average church database is also likely to include Social Security numbers and payment card information. Unsecured, this data could make church members vulnerable to criminals—putting church and ministry members at risk.
Large or small, churches and ministries are often easy prey for would-be thieves, especially as church holidays, like Christmas, approach and weekly offerings increase as more people return to worship and other ministry activities. Ministry leaders can boost their ability to keep thieves away from their contributions and property by taking just a few precautions—not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year.
Churches seldom look more beautiful than when they're decorated for the holidays. Candles, lights, and greenery add splendor to the celebration of Christ's birth. Unfortunately, they also contribute to a number of fires each December. As you haul out the decorations, remember to balance beauty with safety.
Having a hard time finding people to serve in the church nursery? Do new volunteers stop serving, shortly after they begin? There could be a number of reasons for that.
Do you remember the last time you caught the flu? You probably sneezed and coughed and ached all over, resting your stuffy head by a box of tissues and wishing you had the energy to do more than lie there. Well, it’s time to watch out. The flu virus is preparing to pounce again.
Every fall, thousands of churches across the nation sponsor hayrides. Unfortunately, these events sometimes lead to serious injuries, even deaths. By following these suggestions, you can minimize the risks involved in sponsoring hayrides and make your hayride a safe and enjoyable experience.
Last May, the United States Department of Labor announced a new standard for determining who qualifies as an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new ruling says that if an employee earns less than $47,476 per year ($913 per week), then in most cases the employee needs to be classified as non-exempt. This change will take effect December 1, 2016.
Issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws have received a great deal of media and government attention since the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. As a result, many ministry leaders have questions about what the law requires and how they can accommodate LGBTQ* individuals without compromising their religious beliefs.
From time to time, your church or ministry may need to borrow or lease a vehicle for a special event. Before using a vehicle that you don’t own, you need to consider a number of factors.
Understanding your commercial auto insurance policy can sometimes seem as complicated as navigating rush-hour traffic in a crowded church bus. It doesn’t have to be intimating, if you know some of the common components and terms that every insurance policy includes.