Property insurance benefits to increase for 2008


Special to the Advocate
Benefits to churches in the UM PACT property insurance program will increase in 2008, says the Mississippi Conference’s director of administration.

UM PACT (United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust) is a self-funded United Methodist trust that not only provides insurance coverage but also provides risk management assessment and prevention tools for local churches and other United Methodist-related agencies.  The participants will receive these increased benefits in the coming year:

• Flood zone coverage in excess of national flood insurance increases from $11 million to $25 million

• Wind coverage from a named storm increases from $25 million to $35 million in the coastal counties with $40 million in all the other counties. Tornadoes and other wind-related events are covered up to the local church policy limit.

• All churches will have agreed amount coverage. This means that depreciation, cash value or co-insurance penalties do not apply. This is a significant change offered by few carriers.

David Stotts, director of administration, said that he was pleased with the renewal. There will be a 3 percent increase in the property and casualty portion of the insurance premium, which reflects a 3 percent inflation increase in values of the property. He also thanked the PACT board of directors for obtaining the additional coverage for named storms.

Trustees of local churches not insured with the conference plan must sign a resolution to indemnify the conference for any shortfalls in liability coverage and must obtain their own surety bond for the financial secretaries and treasurers of the local churches.

In addition, PACT will maintain the Mississippi Conference’s general liability coverage at $1 million/$3 million and the sexual misconduct liability coverage at $1 million. In addition there is an umbrella (excess liability) policy of $5 million which is vital for churches having vans. Those rates held firm because of three factors:

• Information obtained from the questionnaire “Protecting Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults and Pastoral Counse-ling.” Each church in the conference completed the questionnaire.

• The large number of Mississippi churches participating in and complying with Safe Sanctuaries guidelines

• The low number of reported incidents of clergy misconduct and child abuse within the conference.

“Each local church that makes up the Mississippi Annual Conference is to be commended for their participation in the connection of PACT, their proactive work in risk management and their faithfulness and diligence in ensuring that ministry happens with all of God’s people in the safest and healthiest ways possible,” Stotts said.

The conference ministry protection team is available to assist individuals and local churches.  For Safe Sanctuaries questions, implementation practices and workshop offerings, contact the Rev. Michelle Foster in the conference office (1-866-647-7486). For questions concerning building risk management or auto insurance coverage, call Bill Barham, conference administrator, at 601-420-0174. For all other questions, contact Stotts (1-866-647-7486).

Other practical resources, called “Ministry Protection Memos,” are available at