Talking Insurance Episode 2: Church Insurance in West Virginia and Kentucky

About the episode

This is our second “Talking Insurance” roundtable from Bray & Oakley Insurance Agency. We are excited to share with you the answers to common questions, dive deep into the information you really need to know and share our stories and experience from over 100 years in the insurance industry.

For our second episode, and our personal experience in churches, a few of our Bray & Oakley team members sat down to discuss church insurance, coverages, qualifications, important steps to take and some information not commonly known about making sure you have the right policy. If you have questions about curch insurance in West Virginia and Kentucky, this is time well spent.

Claude Stapleton and Danny Crum are your hosts for this week’s “Talking Insurance”.

Listen to Episode Two:

Welcome back to Talking Insurance with Bray and Oakley Insurance Agency. I’m Danny Crum. I’m the Vice President of sales here at Bray and Oakley Insurance Agency. And I’m here with Claude Singleton, who is the manager of our Lexington and Richmond locations. Hey Claude how are ya?


Really good. How are you doing? 


I’m doing good, good, good.


We’re outside of one of our nice churches here in Lexington, and we’re going to visit today about church insurance.


Yeah, absolutely. I’m involved in my church. And when I got into insurance, and I started doing some things such as learning coverages, I started applying some of that to our church. Most people don’t really understand that churches operate like a business.


Absolutely. And there’s some risks involved that you have to be careful with. And if you’re affiliated with a church, and you have something to do with the church insurance, we’re glad to help you through that it can be a minefield, and if you don’t have the right coverages, you can have some serious problems. And we’re here to help.


Absolutely. And, you know, being a part of the church and, you know, being involved on the inside, we see some things that most people probably don’t realize. And today, we want to talk about some of that, some of the risks that’s involved in the church, some of the coverages that are essential for churches that you really must have. And Claude Singleton, he’s got a long history in insurance. He’s worked on church insurance for quite a few years, right?


Absolutely. Two or three, yeah, one or two years is pretty good. I do have a good experience. And I do like sharing with churches and the different committees I work with, about what they can do to protect themselves better. 


Absolutely. Because you’ve got an asset, if you will, building, but a bigger asset as a liability concern that you’ve got that you don’t want to have your ministry to be destroyed, either in reputation or  in financially to where you would not be capable of doing future service. And insurance can help you do that. So it really is a tool to help. 


Absolutely. One thing that most may not even realize is a lot of your church buildings are pretty old. That really you can’t put a replacement cost value on is that right?


There’s different ways of calculating that. What we want to do is to help you to determine what’s best for you all, and to help if you’ve got works of art or certain types of architecture that’s special to you. Do we need to insure it that way? Or do we need to do it as a functional church, as do you want to have this as a functional church building later, not exactly designed the same way not with the same exact materials, and that affects things. So that’s part of our discussion. And it can also affect your pricing. It can also affect the value of the church building that we would need to rebuild. All that’s important. And we do it one at a time with each customer, each church that we work with. 


Yeah, absolutely. So pertaining to church insurance. What are some coverages that stick out? I mean, as far as you’ve got building coverage? Of course, you’re gonna have liability, just like any other business would have. But what about like, directors and officers, and protecting the volunteers and things like that?


Absolutely. And that’s part of the coverage that we discuss. And sometimes when we’re reviewing coverages with people, we will see that that’s not been addressed or not been addressed adequately. So we talk about what is the exposure, what is the risk for a volunteer sitting on the church board, who’s doing the right things, but can still have an allegation of a suit against them, because we’re doing the right things with the congregation. And so we need to protect those individuals. And we help you do that. You determine the level, but we’ll show you that we’ll discuss those options. It’s a very important thing for board members to have that and decision makers, because they’re not, most of them are not even getting paid for this and what a risk they’ve got going on. You mentioned another sexual misconduct. Yeah, things can happen. And, and we’ve got different companies that we work with, and we will fix that coverage to the level that you want. And there’s certain guidelines that we will deal with, there’s ways of you getting a better price on your insurance, which I think is a very big deal. Gives you a better value. If you do certain steps and we’ll talk you through those steps. If you do this, it’ll give you a better help on your insurance premium and have better coverage.


Yeah, and you know, that’s something that we don’t like to think about. You’re okay. It’s a church, you go here for comfort, you go here for safety, and nobody wants to think about sexual misconduct and those sort of things. But, you know, the reality is, whether you’re guilty or not of that. It can be an accusation, right?


That’s correct. And there has to be a defensible thing. Hang on, we want to help you with a defense of that. And if there is something that occurs where they do hold you, the congregation responsible, we want to have a company who is willing to help with paying penalties and things like that, which is a serious thing. And that’s not just the sexual liability. But that is something that has been a headline type of thing over many, many years.


And so for the directors and officers and board members that are volunteers that make all the decisions along with the pastor, there is coverage for that. 


Oh, absolutely. directors and officers coverage is what it’s called. It’s also in a business policy. Because as you said, Danny earlier, church insurance is for a business of insurance, business of churches well, and as part of that coverage, that is really important, because it will take a large amount of money perhaps to handle the liability that was involved that was alleged to have occurred. And then if it settles that way to where you’ve got, you got money from the big bucks from the insurance company, they help you. That’s critical. And again, it keeps your ministry going on, as opposed to no, we won’t have that coverage. We’ll just hope we don’t have that need. We would rather be proactive and help your ministry out that way.


Absolutely. Another coverage that I have seen working with churches is conscience coverage. Right. So the personal property that the church owns, yes. But it goes a little farther than that, really; because most churches have worship teams. Yes. They have instruments. Yes, some of these instruments have really high value. Yes. And we talked about that. What’s the difference between Okay, well, I’ve got personal property on my policy. Yes. Would my music equipment be covered there?


Oh, good. That’s a good question. Someone else owns the equipment. They’re volunteers, and they’re wonderful musicians. And they bring them there, maybe leave them there at the congregation at the church building. All of this depends upon that coverage and which company we select with you that you can determine. Do you want that coverage to be handled by your policy? And can we do that? I think it’s a wonderful thing when we can, because these often are volunteers who are using their wonderful skill to help with the worship service. And if the guitar was to be stolen, or something that’d be such a shame, or there would be a fire and then they’ve lost it. They left it there. Assuming it would have been well taken care of there at the building and something happened. So that’s a big deal.


Yeah. So what about being mobile with your musical equipment? In my church, we have a worship team. And a lot of times we’re invited to revivals and other churches to lead worship and things like that. So is that something we can cover?


We can talk about that. And we need to determine that carefully. We prepare at Bray and Oakley insurance agency, we prepare for the eventuality that we will have claims. And so we provide the discussion before a claim happens, here’s what would happen if this occurs. Here’s what happens if that occurs, and let you make the choice. Because there’s different policies that have different ways of handling that. And we will want you to have the broadest coverage that you want. And then the fair premium for that exposure. Because sometimes there will be a limitation on the coverage, to where, okay, you’re on the road with it, it’s no longer affecting the church policy, you’re on your own with that, or whatever. And we’ll need to determine that. Also something else with the contents, the valuation of the contents is critical. And what parts of the inside of your building are considered contents versus building, we go through that in extreme detail, we have very good analysis on that. The premium for building type items is lower than the premium for personal property type items. We’ll talk about that when we visit with you. And so if it is part of the building, it makes for a lower premium. For example, if you have a built in organ, built on pipe organ or built in whatever we’re going to add, there’s another attachment that may be part of your building, not part of a content item.


That’s really good. And something I have seen also and you can confirm this is your church pews. Yes, there’s a lot of money in church pews. Yes, it really matters if are they attached, or are they free?

It really does really matter. And we want flexibility into the worship centers. We have to have flexibility and all that stuff. And so how are we going to count the chairs are all part of the valuation that we’ll talk about. Some congregations also have really works of art, and how we value those is a big deal. Or this congregation does not have stained glass windows, but many of our buildings do have stained glass windows. How do we value them? So all these are big deals. If you will allow us the opportunity to, we will be glad to discuss and give you more detail. This is really a snippet of what we’re doing. But we have a wealth of knowledge about it. And we have several companies that we work with because we’re an independent agency. And we’re most glad, very glad to help you walk through these things. Anything else you want to add to this?


We appreciate everything you’ve told us, Claude, thank you for being here with us and going over this. As always, you can visit our website at this is where you can see this you can also follow our YouTube channel and on Apple podcast or you can call one of our offices. We have offices in Logan, West Virginia; Chapmanville, West Virginia; Pikeville, Kentucky; Richmond, Kentucky; Lexington, Kentucky; Weston, West Virginia and we’re here to service you. We’ve got an office close by wherever you’re at. Let us sit down with you, with some of our insurance professionals, discuss what we do, some of the coverage we go over and I think I think you’ll really enjoy it.


I’ll also say this, thanks for wearing a  Kentucky shirt today buddy.


Go Big Blue!


He’s a West Virginia guy. 


When in Kentucky do as the Kentuckians do there. I’ll burn the shirt. 


Yeah, no, you won’t!


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