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It is important to identify risks that are part of church activity—property, people, vehicles, and emergencies are considered the primary areas. Once these areas are identified, your church needs to decide if you have good internal controls in each of these areas.  In addition to good internal controls, you will want to manage the risk through additional policies and procedures to eliminate hazards in relation to people, facility, and programs.  Let's look at some of the questions your church should review each year related to these areas of church activity.

  • Are property appraisals and related insurance coverage limits up to date?
  • Are policies and procedures for facility supervision and use up to date?
  • Is handicap access and safety given special consideration?
  • Is program use of the facility monitored by responsible members?
  • Are entrances not needed for outside access locked?
  • Are all exits void of obstruction and capable of use?
  • Are fire warning and sprinkler systems in place and operative?
  • Are mechanical systems regularly serviced and given restricted access?
  • Are entrances monitored by video or security systems?
  • Are policies and procedures for program supervision up to date?
  • Are policies and procedures actually implemented and used for staff and volunteers?
  • Are criminal record checks done on church staff and volunteers?
  • Are staff and volunteers adequately trained, or have the necessary experience, for the services they are providing?
  • Do the parents of minor aged church program participants sign acknowledgement and release forms when their children travel to off-premises activities?
  • Is workers compensation insurance in force?
  • Is liability insurance in force with adequate limits?
  • Is there a safe church policy?
  • Are policies and procedures for maintenance of church owned vehicles up to date?
  • Are policies and procedures actually implemented and used for staff and volunteers?
  • Are motor vehicle record checks done on drivers of vehicles used for church activities?
  • Are more than one adult present with children at all times?
  • Is appropriate liability and collision insurance in force?
  • Are policies and procedures up to date for extreme weather conditions? Medical emergencies, accidents? and incident communication?
  • Are policies and procedures actually implemented and used?
  • Is appropriate liability, property, workers compensation, and medical insurance in force?

Understand that the risks, and costs, that are not managed through an insurance program, are retained by the church.  Having good internal controls will help hold insurance costs down.  Review your risk management and insurance coverage at least annually. Review your internal controls and policy implementation.  If there is any significant change in the church building, staffing, or program, increase the frequency of review.  Engage the servces of competent insurance agents to help with risk management and obtain quotes from at least a couple competent agents to assist in risk management evaluation and cost containment.

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