In one of my volunteer roles, I serve on the board of the Insurance Board (IB) an insurance company that only insures churches. As a board member, I can combine the learning and experience of my past career as an insurance agent with my current call as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. After spending 20 years immersed in insurance, it has become a part of my identity. This past week, the IB met in Boston to talk about loss prevention, sales, marketing, underwriting, claims frequency, and other things that make my heart sing!
Since the pandemic, a problem is occurring in our church buildings that I want to alert the Presbytery of Chicago about: water damage. Because of the pandemic, there are fewer people in our church buildings during the week. A result of having fewer people in the building is that liability claims are down (fewer people to fall or get injured on church property) while water claims are way up. This is because there are fewer days when people are in the building to notice when a pipe breaks or other plumbing issues. Water is always a concern in the winter with busted pipes, but water can also be running in broken toilets, water fountains, and damaged plumbing. It is often hidden until it breaks loose through walls, ceilings, or floors.
Today, technology has come to the rescue with a device that can warn if a water leak is present. These devices can call pastor or staff and alert them of water in the building. Churches have used the device to receive warnings after a hard rain, power outage, toilet malfunction, or frozen pipes.
I’m encouraging congregations to check with their insurance company about water detection devices. In some cases, the device and monitoring service is free of charge. As Ben Franklin once said (and badly quoted by Craig Howard!), “A drop of prevention may save a flood of expenses!” Hopefully, you get the idea!