Risk Management & Insurance for Churches

insurance for churches

“Recently, Mike Herzak, President, and his son, Dan Herzak, VP, were invited to speak at the 2019 Serbian Orthodox Sabor in Chicago, IL.  The talk centered around best practices for risk management and insurance for churches. 

Unlike insurance, risk management is the process of identifying risks, assessing the potential impact of the risk, and determining how best to control the risk. The discussion focused on topics such as property & casualty risks typically found within Orthodox churches, what churches can do on a local level to improve their own risk management, how to reduce the risk of sexual abuse, as well as recommended insurance coverage each parish should carry.

The presentation was welcomed by the clergy and laity with numerous questions and lively discussion.”

Don’t Be Fooled by Insurance Ads


Recently, there has been a proliferation of advertising by insurance carriers that are interesting and even fun to watch. You have all seen Allstate’s “mayhem” ad, Farmers’ “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two,” Progressive’s “Flo” and Liberty Mutual’s “customizable” ad with “only pay for what you need.”

Interestingly, all of these ads describe claims and coverage situations that ALL carriers would readily cover. Yet, because these large carriers spend billions of dollars on ads espousing these things they leave the impression that only they provide coverage in these instances. In fact, frequently you can do better or equally as well with smaller companies who cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on ads. To be sure the consumer is paying for these ads through their premiums. Certainly not all carriers are the same, some are clearly better than others. However, there are standards that most carriers follow.

All of the carriers that we represent are rated by A. M. Best Co. “A-“ (Excellent) or better. They will all cover the types of claims you see in these mega carrier TV ads. With our many regional and national carriers we have terrific relationships and can use that relationship to advocate for you. So while these TV ads may be fun to watch don’t be fooled into thinking that those carriers are something special. Frequently we can offer you better coverage and pricing than these carriers and you get us to advocate for you at renewal time and claims time.


Golfing for a Great Cause

ISG St. Herman Pic

Insurance Systems Group was proud to be one of the sponsors and participants in the St. Herman House - FOCUS Cleveland recent Golf Classic.

St. Herman's House of Hospitality, founded in 1977 to serve the poor and homeless population in Ohio City, is one of the only shelters in Ohio to provide three hot meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Last year alone they served nearly 82,000 meals.

To find out more about St. Herman's House or how you can get involved, please visit their website below.

The More Things Change

“The only constant is change.”  

How your organization operates can change over time whether through workforce changes, cultural changes, product changes, or even leadership changes.

Any one of these can create the need to review and revise insurance coverage.

Your insurance agent may not be aware of organizational changes unless there is a process in place to ensure the conversation happens on a regular basis. Some process ideas are:

•Schedule annual meetings with your insurance agent

•Create an operating checklist that includes the
question – does this impact our coverage.   This checklist would
apply to any staff change, equipment purchase, building lease, and more.)

•Implement internal reviews to evaluate change

The goal of these process ideas is to
create a way to keep track of changes within the company to be sure nothing
falls through the cracks.

Maintaining proper protection is essential for sustained growth so utilize your advisors and stay on top of changes that impact your operations.

We welcome the opportunity to help you review your coverage to ensure you stay protected.

Data Breaches Are On The Rise

It seems that no industry is immune to a data breach or cybercrime. Retail, banking, and now, even healthcare. Consumers and businesses need to face the reality that with digital platforms comes great risk, and that data breaches are on the rise.

Consumers can have their identities, tax refunds, and bank accounts stolen. Businesses can have their customer data stolen or can be held hostage through ransomware. Recently, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s computer systems failed to work for days. The reason? The systems had been breached and were being held for ransom.

If this can happen to a government entity like an airport, imagine what can happen to your business. Industry experts warn that cyber criminals are targeting small businesses.

This doesn’t mean you are helpless. Small businesses should engage a cyber security expert to review best practices. Many incidents are caused by an employee opening a virus in an attachment or accessed through clicking on a link. Educating staff can help as well.

For consumers and businesses, cyber insurance is becoming as necessary as homeowners or car insurance. These invasions are only going to become more common. There’s real value in getting ahead of them now. If you’ve got questions about your level of risk, as well as solutions, give us a call.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Some recent publicity, most notably the #MeToo movement, has made this an important topic.  Sexual Assault can occur in many different forms – inappropriate contact and rape to name a few.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), 91% of victims of Sexual Assault are female.  Even more scary, statistics say a woman is raped every 2 minutes in the U.S.  The estimated lifetime dollar cost of an assault?  $122,461, which costs the U.S. more than any other crime including murder and drunk driving.  This does not take into account the possible mental anguish and depression that often ensues.

Can we totally eliminate sexual assault?  Probably not, but there are measures we can take:  Communicate openly.  Ask for consent.  Continue to spread awareness.  Donate to the cause.  Speak out if you see something that doesn’t seem right.  Report incidents immediately.  Listen to your gut.

As a society, we need to learn to treat each other with dignity and respect.  Help be a part of the solution.  Together we can reduce sexual assault.

Distracted Driving Is Not Only About Texting

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. We know that texting and driving is terribly dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Cellphones aren’t the only challenge.

A lot of focus is given to driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Consider these additional distractions that can cause accidents:

            Eating or drinking
            Applying makeup
            Changing the radio station

The CDC shares that there are three types of distractions:

            Visual: taking your eyes off the road
            Manual: taking your hands off the steering wheel
            Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

Driving a car is a responsibility, not only to the people in the car, but to everyone around them. Nothing is so important that it should be done while driving a car. Be present, be mindful, be responsible. Lowering the accident and fatality numbers should be everyone’s goal.

Spring Showers bring May Flowers…and Flooding

Spring has sprung and, while that means summer is around the corner, it also means flood season. Most Americans live or work in areas that have some kind of flood risk. Unfortunately, many still do not have flood insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Flooding is caused by a number of conditions including severe storms, overflowing rivers or tidal waters, heavy rain, mudslides, levee failure and snowmelt. About 90% of natural disasters involve flooding in one way or another.

Here are a few key things to note:

• Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance will cover your losses in the event of a flood.

• There is a 30-day waiting period before your coverage takes effect, so don’t delay.

• Floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states. The National Flood Insurance Program says that one out of four flood claims come from outside the floodplain and “high risk” areas.

• Flood Insurance costs are reasonable.

Only you can determine your appetite for risk but it’s important to consider your exposure and protect yourself in the event flooding happens to you.

The Hidden Impact of a Loss

Insuring a church is more than covering the building and its contents inside. It’s important to consider a variety of situations and possibilities to ensure you have the coverage needed in the event of a loss.

When thinking insurance for churches most of us think Property. Property includes not only the building but the items within the building, as well as iconography or the iconostas. According to industry data, there are more than 1,800 fires every year in religious properties. While property claims such as a fire can have a devastating impact on the property of the church, consider some of the other areas that may be impacted as well.

What would happen if you couldn’t gain access to your sanctuary for a period of time? Are you covered for the use of another space? What about loss in revenue from donations? We have seen crippling fire losses to churches which resulted in, not only the need to rebuild and replace the structure, but also the need to find a temporary home to hold services which can impact attendance, donations, and ultimately impact revenue and stewardship.

Consider the impact a loss may have on cancelled income-generating activities or community outreach programs, as well. When a major loss occurs, it can create a ripple effect throughout the organization and parish.

While we pray you never need to use it, it is important to consider the domino effect a loss can have and ensure you are properly protected.