Adopted as a shield against liability, UM PACT is proving to be just as beneficial for property insurance for United Methodist churches in the Mississippi Conference.
UM PACT, adopted as the conference insurance program at an October special session of Annual Conference, has helped the Mississippi Conference obtain property insurance that otherwise would not have been available in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“We’re happy UM PACT was able to find us coverage because our efforts did not turn up any company willing or able to insure the entire state,” said
Stotts said the conference insurance committee and Board of Trustees talked to more than 25 companies before reaching a deal with Zurich North America. All other companies approached either declined to offer any coverage or only wanted to cover the northern half of the state.
Five United Methodist churches and one parsonage sustained catastrophic damage in the Aug. 29 storm, while another 17 churches and 13 parsonages suffered major damage. Twenty-eight pastors’ homes were rendered uninhabitable. Gulfside Assembly was leveled. Seashore Assembly and Moore Community House in
“If we had not had the called session in October, I fear our churches on the Coast and small churches covered by volunteer fire departments would not have been able to find affordable coverage,” Stotts said.
The Rev. Henderson Rasberry, chair of the Board of Trustees, pointed out that while some individual churches might have been able to obtain coverage at lower rates, the purpose of UM PACT is to make sure that all churches in the conference are able to have insurance.
“If everybody stays faithful helping our
UM PACT was formed in 2005 among several United Methodist conferences to help churches obtain property and liability insurance that otherwise might not be available. The Mississippi Conference was among the first to join UM PACT in January 2005, and then the company became the entire conference’s insurer in October.
As it stands, the cost of insurance coverage will go up in 2006. Stott said the increase will vary from church to church but will average about 39 percent. He compared that increase to the Florida Conference, which faces a 55 percent increase this year and has totaled cost increase of 89 percent over the past three years.
In a letter being sent to Mississippi Conference churches, four coverage changes and an enforcement change are listed: