By Jessica Brodie
FLORENCE—Kay Crowe, conference chancellor, gave South Carolina United Methodist churches some firm advice at Annual Conference June 6: be aware of and possess complete insurance packages and be sure church property sales and leasing comply with the United Methodist Book of Discipline.
Crowe said she sometimes get calls from churches who have had some sort of insurance-related event, such as employee theft, yet know little to nothing about their coverage.
“They tell me, ‘We’re not sure where policies are, we’re not sure what our coverage is, and we’ve known about this four to five months and didn’t think this would be a big problem, so we’re just now reaching out for help,” Crowe said, noting those are the calls she dreads. “Those calls happen again and again despite the amount of time we spend talking about the importance of churches having complete insurance packages.”
Crowe reminded the body that the conference no longer bonds the individuals in churches who handle money.
“That conference-level bonding coverage was lost because of the number of losses we had; they refuse to write it any more,” Crowe said. “Every church is completely responsible for having the appropriate bonds for the individuals in your churches who are handling money.”
She urged churches to have a designated place where policies are kept and know what coverages are being bought, plus be sure to review the declarations page and the policies themselves.
“This is important because these cases are happening as we speak,” Crowe said.
She also noted that many churches are engaging in sale transactions, mortgages and leasing of church properties, and these transactions may be handled by lawyers who are not familiar with the Discipline. She encouraged churches to be sure to make lawyers aware of these additional rules found in the Discipline.