Running or working in a religious organisation can be the source of great fulfillment for many people. There’s a sense of spiritual uplift that comes with spreading religious messages, but more so in the way that these groups so often work in and help their communities. Despite this level of nobility and purpose, there is a practical side to religious organisations that no one can ignore, and that’s the many potential risks that come with it.
To address these risks, it’s normal for one of these groups to find a specialist insurance for religious organisations, but what exactly are the particular risks they face?
If you are running a medium-sized or large church, for example, then you likely have a large property on which it is situated. That property will include pavements, footpaths, doorways, a car park, and possibly child-friendly facilities like a playground or supervised play area for young children, and many other things. If accidents are to happen in these areas that could be traced back to the failing of the organisation, then serious legal troubles could follow.
For instance, what if a child hurts themselves on damaged playground equipment? What if an elderly member of the congregation trips and falls on poorly lit stone steps during an evening service? There are many eventualities to prepare for, and risks that are ever-present no matter how vigilant you are.
Many religious ceremonies involve the lighting of candles, the burning of incense and other elements involving fire. For this reason, religious organisations have to be sure that their facilities are absolutely up to code when it comes to fire safety and protection. This means properly working sprinklers, fire alarm systems, and fire extinguishers. It also means that volunteers and staff members within the organisation have to be properly trained.
Further above, we mentioned the risks of children hurting themselves on play equipment. That’s one area of concern, but there are even more prevalent ones when it comes to children being put in the care of the church for daily activities, special events, or daycare. What steps does your organisation take, for instance, to ensure that the people coming to collect children are their real parents or legal guardians?
Another big concern is the conduct of volunteers and staff members with children in the charge of a religious organisation. How were these people hired? Were proper background checks done on them? Do they have the proper experience and/or qualifications needed? These questions have to be answered satisfactorily.
- Financial Loss
While churches and religious organisations run on a non-profit charity-like basis, they are still places with huge sums of money coming through them, especially those with larger congregations and membership. The more people who attend, the more the collection plates tend to get filled up.
Besides cash, there are credit cards to manage, bank accounts, payroll for full-time and part-time staff members, as well as the many expenses involved in maintaining the church or building used by such an organisation. The risk of financial loss is thus ever-present.
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- Vehicle Accidents
A typical religious organisation will operate one or more vehicles used for various purposes. Among the most common are vans and small buses that might be used to collect older members of the congregation or other organisation members from their retirement homes or assisted living facilities and bring them to services. They may also be used for day trips, employee transport, moving equipment, and so on.
The biggest risk isn’t just owning the vehicles, but in knowing who is operating them. Is insurance fully up to date? Do volunteer drivers know how to operate larger vehicles like small buses and vans, which drive differently from a common hatchback car? All must be answered.