INSURANCE COVERAGE HISTORY for the
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH CONNECTION
WHY DOES THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HAVE AN INSURANCE PROGRAM?
The General Conference first required the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) to make available a “church-wide [property and liability] insurance program” in 1976. (See Par. 907.13, 1976 Book of Discipline.) Many churches had inadequate coverage limits or were missing key coverages such as workers compensation, sexual misconduct liability, directors and officers coverage, or employment practices liability.
One of the key concerns that matter to the General Conference is the trust clause which has been part of the Book of Discipline since 1797. In addition, United Methodists have a stewardship responsibility to see that insurable losses are paid for by insurance companies and not the parishioners or the annual conference.
The United Methodist Insurance Program (UMIP) has evolved over time from an endorsement of individual companies to a captive insurance company format and now to an endorsed, exclusive agent relationship with the Sovereign Insurance Group.
WHAT THE NEW UMIP FORMAT MEANS TO YOU:
1. Adequate coverage. Insurance for your ministry from people who have a deep understanding of your insurance needs.
2. Program stability. UMIP is not subject to the underwriting appetite or results of an individual insurance company and does not have to accept any underwriting risk.
3. Commitment to our Connection.Ability to serve all parts of the Methodist Connection and any entity historically related to Methodism.
4. Experience, ability, results. Sovereign Insurance Group has been serving ministries for over 60 years. They have access to many carriers and the market knowledge to use them to deliver the right coverage at the right price.
5. A heart to serve. UMIP and Sovereign are committed by their mission and by the Book of Discipline to serve all ministries regardless of size, location, condition, or loss history.
Continuing the Stewardship Legacy
The availability of GCFA-sponsored insurance programs has laid the foundation for a new understanding of insurance as a tool for living out “trust-related stewardship.” We have, in turn, set a new standard for the commercial insurance market with these initiatives:
UMI offered limits and coverages previously unavailable, forcing the commercial insurance market to improve their offerings to match ours.
UMI has involved several annual conferences and GCFA in establishing minimum levels of insurance required for local church boards of trustees to use in evaluating whether a church had adequate insurance.
UMI’s presence in the property and liability insurance market benefits the entire denomination.
In order to be of service to as many churches as possible, the UMI Program plans to expand the number of carriers it represents. The carriers will include those dedicated to serving the church market and other carriers providing specialty coverage for difficult to place risks and specialty lines of coverage. With the elimination of the risk of