Finance and Administration

Minimum insurance requirements for churches revised

Pastors who serve churches in rural settings must deal with special challenges as they help their parishioners — and themselves — to maintain good mental health. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS. Accompanies UMNS story # 143. 5/22/13
Pastors who serve churches in rural settings must deal with special challenges as they help their parishioners — and themselves — to maintain good mental health. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS. Accompanies UMNS story # 143. 5/22/13

The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) in November 2019 approved revised minimum insurance requirements for local church property insurance coverage. The most recent changes, as well as changes made in May 2019, further enhance ways churches valuate their property and assure they have the correct coverage, limits, terms and conditions.

The first change allows churches to purchase limits for sexual misconduct indemnification that are less than the stated minimum requirements if the legal cap on damages in that church’s state is lower than the GCFA recommended limits. This assures that churches are not paying for more coverage than regional legal limits allow. 

The second change adds functional replacement cost as an approved method of property valuation. This change particularly helps churches with older buildings, especially in instances where constructions methods are outdated and costly.

The changes, coupled with the earlier updates made in May 2019, help assure churches are maintaining adequate and appropriate coverage for all church properties and personnel as defined by Paragraph 2533.2 of The Book of Discipline.

These changes will not require any change in current policies, but they create enhancements that could benefit both current and new clients. Churches can make changes only with the written approval of the annual conference. 

Churches and other United Methodist properties currently insured by the United Methodist Insurance Program can contact Jeff Koch, president and chief executive officer, at 615-369-2317 or the Suracy Faith Customer Service team at 866-203-0777 with any questions on the revised requirements. Others should contact their insurance carrier.