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Church Insurance: The Unique Difference You Can Expect From Your Relationship With Us
Church Insurance:  The Unique Difference You Can Expect From Your Relationship With Us

Looking For An Agency With Experience?  Your Ministry Needs Our Quality Stewardship Tools Which Can Equip Pastors And Church Leaders To Meet The Demands of Our Complex And Litigious Culture Without Ministry Compromise.* 

Today's culture presents a very unique evolved set of circumstances for church ministries.  From our country's founding, church ministries were given the position of litigation immunity and protection from governmental control by the constitution.  The new country sought to provide freedom of religion so that it could avoid the pitfalls of the European countries' "governmental operated and supported churches"   that resulted  in so much persecution.  For the most part those provisions remained intact until about 1975 when this protection began to be systematically eroded away so that today little if any protection is provided.   Today's church ministry protection is very dependent on the quality of the written procedures "safeguards" and risk management they have put in place themselves, not a product or event, "safeguards" are procedures.   The developed and implemented procedures "safeguards" provide protection for church ministry staff and those that attend.  We believe our personalized assistance along with our quality easy to use materials will assist any church ministry that is willing to work with us to meet this cultural challenge.   This unique advantage is the difference our clients say we offer, "our minsitry touch".    Let us know how we can best assist you so that we work in harmony with your ministry and not ahead of you with these areas.                                                                                                       

In 2006 after listening to the feedback from our clients and taking a hard look at what they were being presented with today we decided to develop a stronger emphasis to assist them in ways that would better meet their needs.  This is continually being refined as we seek to assist ministries in meeting the rapidly changing culture of today.  We bring to the forefront our over thirty years of experience, continual specialized education, and relationships that provide the foundation to understand today's cultural demands for church ministries.  We trust you find this helpful as we share with you in your ministry and do our best to inform and make the complex easier to understand and apply. 

We believe in taking the time to offer a relationship of understanding and VALUE for ministries in a day when most other agents only take the time to offer a price for a random purchase of insurance benefits as if they are a commody purchase, instead of the purchase of a contract for funds as stated within it.  Insurance is not, risk management, a maintenance contract, disaster recovery plan, the fix all or replace all as many may feel today, but a contract to be followed and monitored as such by each state insurance department.  Most every claim is review by the department for its contracted adjustment and settlement.  Each payment or denial of funds must be justified by meeting the terms and conditions contained with in the specific insurance contract purchased for your ministry.  However, today for most church ministry insurance purchases, the agent sells then hastily moves along and is rarely seen again.  One ministry told me the other day that they had not seen an agent for 20 years knowing only the premium, a thought deductible and  a property insured value that they had no real understanding for its bases except its relation to what it cost to build the building. This leaves your ministry to assume what they purchased and fend for itself as it seeks to meet all the new and growing risk factors of today.  To few ministries today understand what they really purchased except for it's price and one or two  items of interest leaving most with a contact of meaningless paperwork, with an unknown value if any.  Today's risk management is all about procedures, not a product or event.   It's critical today to understand the terms and benefits within the contracts you purchase before you learn them in a painful and costly way from a hostil and unforgiving culture, and their relationship to the risk factors of your ministry.  This can only be properly dealt with by the completion of a quality risk management study with a risk manager to establish the proper foundation rationale for your purchase.

      1. Risk Management,  a quality study of a ministry to discover its risk factors for their frequency and severity
      2. Safe Guards, the risk management elements implemented, procedures and choices to minimize the uncovered ministry risk factors
      3. Disaster Recovery, plans developed and implemented to minimize ministry risk factor severity that could cause a disaster
      4. Value and Understanding, the developed value and understanding necessary to meet today's cultural demands
      5. Minsitry Insurance, tailored benefits that provide contractual funding to meet known ministry risk factors
      6. Ministry Financing, improper placed financing can bleed a ministry, timing and choices are critical today..

Providing pastors and church leaders with stewardship tool application for their ministries that can:

      • Assist with the development of "safeguards" procedures that will reduce the risk factors for your ministry leaders, both paid staff and volunteers.  This will enable them to be more effective with less stress and without compromise, as they do what God would have them do in the minstry. 
      • Protect ministry assets from unnecessary loss due to litigation and disaster
      • Reduce the risk for injury and interruption of your ministry
      • Provide for the future continuation of your ministry
        • Financial growth through wise investment and purchases
        • Financing programs (ministry generous term and interest rates usually 1 to 2 points below market)
        • Vehicle purchase that is prudent at reduced costs
      • Ministry management consultations, including building use, location, expansion, new build issues, financial management issues, advanced planning, staff handbooks, and ministry day-to-day procedural issues for your paid and volunteer staff, and ministry attendees.
      • How to effectively meet staff and volunteer risks and insurance needs for health, life, disability, and retirement
      • Paid and volunteer staff, risk management services for their security and peace of mind, so they can minister and worship in a safe environment.
      • We offer qualifying regular attendees in your congregation of faith, security and peace of mind with our special faithguard products for auto, home and life 

Our Concern For Ministries In Today's Culture


The reality of today's culture:  I Peter 5:8 The devil as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.

To survive today's ministry must be proactive:  Proverbs 27:12  A prudent man foresees the danger, and takes precautions; but the simple pass on in their blindness and neglect, to suffer the consequences.

The critical element of safeguards today:  I Thess 5:22 Abstain from all appearence of evil...


Today your ministry is faced with a hostile world.  A generation ago, few would think of suing a church ministry. Many hard working and good intentioned church leaders today are still under the false assumption that the charitable immunity laws that have protected churches from litigation down through the years still provide that same protection. In today's litigious culture, these laws provide little if any protection forming a vast void where there was once protection for church ministries before 1975.  Too often today churches because of their own neglect, make themselves easy targets for our litigious culture.  For many of today's ministries this out of control litigation too often results in staff and ministry complications for their lives and at times their demise. 


Church ministries must take prudent steps to protect themselves and their ministry leaders from such attacks today.  Phelps Financial Services can assist you with the necessary steps that will preserve your church ministries for future generations.   As a wise steward your Biblical responsibility is to manage and protect what God has entrusted to you.  Wise preventive measures can greatly reduce the potential destruction of the ministry that you and others have sacrificed to build.  Proactive churches that are working with us on these elements of ministry have shared with us they have less trouble finding enough volunteers for their growing ministries.  People today are more likely to be drawn to ministries they know are a safe place for them and their family to serve and worship.  When reviewing the twenty-third Psalm it is prudent to remember that the good shepherd not only provided quality food,  but also just as critical the good shepherd provided a haven of safety where the sheep could eat and rest without fear.  The critical elements for today's ministry and it leaders are its procedures "safeguards", not a product or event..


The current top 10 causes of damage and injuries facing church ministries today for claims of our cleints:

          1. Wind and hail
          2. Falls
          3. Water damage
          4. Criminal property damage (theft, burglary, and vandalism)
          5. Accidental fires
          6. Lightning damage
          7. Recreational activity injuries
          8. Arson
          9. Sexual misconduct incidents
          10. Maintenance injuries

Add to these the complex ministry challenges facing today's ministries of:

          1. Ministry growth and transitional issues
          2. Proper numbers of qualified staff
          3. Effective and timely communication after a risk issue or disaster
          4. Effectively dealing with governmental regulations
          5. Effective and efficient building use
          6. Effective money management and financial growth
          7. The ever growing issue of copyright and intellectual property rights
          8. Effective data management including but not limited to its legal, integrity, security
          9. Effective use of technology and its legal issues including email and web pages 
          10. Proper balance of scheduling for attendees and staff
          11. Effective discipleship methodologies and relationships
          12. Effective worship presentation and approach

How well does your current risk manager or other consultant help your ministry meet today's challenges?  We know that you will find our experienced knowledgeable staff, products, services, and team of ministry professional advisors will enable your ministries to effectively position themselves today to meet these ever growing ministry challenges.  You will find our assistance and other professionals, timely, effective, time efficient, understandable, and thorough in its presentation and methodology.

Our Background


Mr. Dorr Phelps, our agency owner and president, grew up in a pastor's home, observing first-hand the heart and needs of church ministry.  As a Bible college graduate with a major in church ministries he further understands the Biblical responsibility of stewardship God has given pastors and church leaders today, as well as the regular relentless attacks he deals with upon church ministries and their staff today.  Adding to this foundation, there has been rich associations with other professionals and advisors in his life and specific continual professional training in the areas of risk management, disaster recovery, employee benefits, insurance, as well as financial planning services.   This has uniquely gifted him to assist pastors and church leaders over the last thirty years to meet the cultural demands of today.  He surrounds himself and his staff with a unique group of like minded and very experienced professionals that he and you can work with that cover most any aspect of ministry as noted above. He is a friend of pastors and church leaders that takes the time to listen to their concerns and has a deep burden to help shield them from potential loss for themselves, their staff, and complications for their ministries.  Beyond establishing the initial protection provisions, he offers an ongoing relationship that partners with the ministries he works with, offering continual advise for them on their risk factors, insurance. and the other areas noted above. (for complete biographical information, (click here) and the scope of his professional training, (click here)  

What You Can Expect From Your Relationship With Our Agency 

Our engagement with your ministry begins with the development of  a specific plan to secure your ministry. This involves a comprehensive ministry risk management study with you of your church, its ministries, church leaders, properties, and your church community; this allow us to then effectively work with you for proper applications to meet your specific needs. This is the most critical step your ministry can take today, for the security and peace of mind for your employees, volunteers, and attendees.  Without this study, your purchase of insurance could be a contract lacking proper application for your risk factors.   Today you need stewardship tools designed for your specific ministry.  Because we have a heart for your ministry, we willingly invest the time and energy it takes to design affordable and effective plans as we listen and work with you to tailor them to your individual risk factors.  Our study and partnership with you will not only reveal your possible needs for those areas below but also for assistance from some of our other professional adviser if you desire that assistance as noted above:

              (1) Risk Management and your specific risk factors 

              (2) Disaster Recovery Plans for your specific possible disasters

              (3) Property risk factor needs

              (4) Liability risk factor needs

              (5) Crime risk factor needs

              (6) Vehicles risk factor needs

              (7) Excess Liability (Umbrella) risk factor needs 

              (8) Workers' Compensation risk factor needs 

              (9) Employee Benefits  risk factor needs

             (10) A review of other possible employee risk factor needs

             (11) A review of Ministry programs and day-to-day operations can affect your risk factors

            (12) A review of handbooks, forms and other procedures and practices affecting the day-to-day ministries and your risk factors.                       

Insurance is a contract for funding risk factors and disasters you feel are beyond your abilities to handle yourself. (A contract for a future delivery of funds.) Without the solid foundation of risk management and disaster recovery plans the insurance program becomes a funding for what? It is like building a house or ministry with no specific plans. As the storms of the culture move in as they surely will, disasters can follow leaving possible ruin and confusion. (Remember, the Titanic, which had no risk management plan or disaster plans because it was thought the ship to be invincible) It is critical today the three elements; risk management, disaster recovery, and insurance coverage, work in harmony or they will not offer the proper security necessary for an ongoing ministry. Products and services sold and offered to fulfill your specific needs can vary tremendously from agency to agency as do the agency background, experience, education, and business philosophy of operation. The value you choose today is more critical then ever before, for the safety and ongoing aspects of your ministry. We value the opportunity to serve with you.  Our work with you will assist your church ministries with the important factors that will enable us to position you to qualify for the best premiums and the necessary insurance coverage for today. 

Insurance, without the foundation of a quality comprehensive risk and disaster study which deals with each realized risk factor, is really a disaster in waiting for your staff and those of your community of faith.  Would you think it a wise choice to never take the time to timely check your auto brakes feeling justified with this decision because you have auto insurance? Healthy life choices, as are checking your auto brakes, are the risk mangement safeguards you choose to put in place in your life, to lesson the risk of the premature loss of your life.  Ministry insurance is like life insurance, which can not stop you from dying, but can assist with the possible financial aftermath of your death. 


Defining terms and procedures we believe are critical to understand for good communication and proper application.  Our assistance is as near as your email or phone. We value the opportunity to serve with you*

To review the important insurance benefits and terms you should consider, their definitions and use for a church and related ministries (click here)

I.  RISK MANAGEMENT: The process of making and implementing decisions that can minimize the effect of loss.


A.  It is critical that the church or church school review all the possible risk that they could possibly be presented with, noting possible frequency and severity. Please note, this is an ongoing process.

B.   It is then possible to review which risk management technique should be applied to each possible risk. The techniques include retention, avoidance, modification, shared, and insurance "risk transfer".

C.   Insurance, without the foundation of a quality risk management program today, is like building a fine building on quicksand.  The critical factor is that the seeming smallest risk could destroy the entire ministry. Insurance can assist with replacement or rebuilding because it is only contracted funding. Often it is not be able to replace that which is lost or destroyed. It can never replace the loss of life, sight, or limbs that may be lost.

D.  The risk management process.

      1.   Review all possible risk factors note frequency and severity factors for each.

      2.   Determine the correct risk technique for each as listed below.

      3.   Implement the proper techniques

      4.   Review and modify as necessary. 

      5.   The possible techniques for use.  

                     ·      Avoid the risk

                     ·      Reduce the risk

                     ·      Retain the risk

                     ·      Share the risk

                     ·      Transfer the risk "insurance"



       A.  A quality agent will review with you all known possible risks that could present themselves for your  organization, and then review with you those risks that could develop into possible disasters assisting your organization with the appropriate disaster recovery plan for each.                                                                                       

        B.  It is critical that your disaster recovery plans are practiced from time to time so that you can consider their efficiency and modify them if necessary.

        C.  It is also important that your disaster recovery plans are continually reviewed against your risk factors,  since risk factors seem to change from time to time.

        D.  Remember the Titanic; there were over 1,500 lives lost because it was thought disaster was impossible, thus a disaster plan was thought to be unnecessary.  Far too many churches and church school ministries today believe the same, as they trust charitable immunity laws that no longer offer valid protection. Some justify their lack of risk management and disaster recovery plans because they feel they will cost money and time they do not have.  Others believe they do not fit their ministry program as they are further lead into believing possible disaster to be rare only happening to others, just as those involved with the Titanic.

         E. A quality agent will supply timely information and assistance to help your organization with these errors of thought before your possible staff or ministry demise. 


Knowing the important factors that can position your organization to quality for the best premiums and the necessary insurance products and benefits to meet today's cultural demands is critical. 



The property section of the insurance policies is not intended to be a maintenance policy for the organization. If claims are occurring because your organization is failing to maintain the property, you stand a chance of having your insurance canceled or having the rate increase dramatically at the renewal. Insurance is intended to cover losses that are accidental and unforeseen. As a good steward of your organization's properties, you should be maintaining them to the best of your ability. Liability portions of your policy can be adversely affected by this same maintenance problem. Crumbling, broken steps, parking lots with large potholes, interior/exterior steps without railings, deficient lighting, etc. are all potential injury spots for your employees and the general public. Once again, while the insurance carrier will pay these claims, they will not pay them for long because you are not maintaining the property at a level that is expected. Proper maintenance will assure you of the right to purchase insurance and also assure that it is at the lowest possible price. Missing proper safeguards for your programs, practices, and property use and design, developed by a quality on going risk management program, can present added challenges for you to obtain good pricing today for your organization and sometimes any insurance. 

Purchasing Insurance Today, Is Like Choosing A Brain Surgeon

Using a little humor to provoke your thinking, we are as our title suggests trying to show that the purchase of your insurance is far more important and complex than most people treat the decisions and resulting act. Insurance has become very complex and it changes continually as it attempts to meet the rapidly changing and complex risks that our society continually presents us with today. Some people treat the purchase of insurance, as if they were buying a commodity like bread or milk, fooling themselves into believing there is little at risk.  This would never happen if they were selecting a skilled surgeon to perform a difficult procedure on themselves. Yet today many call around to find the cheapest price in order to "get it done".

The problems with looking at price only as the main basis for decision; a policyholder may drop into that agent's office with no knowledge of the agent's skills or the product, to buy something "insurance" to protect their most valuable assets and financial plans. They then mindlessly put the policy into a drawer or in a pile.  At some time in the future when they are unfortunately presented with a claim, they call the agent and expect everything to be covered when to their horror they find their claim is not covered to their expectation they feel insurance is just a terrible concept.  Sometimes they are tempted and many times because of its ease, to make a similar decision with the click of a mouse over the internet, not realizing they are purchasing an insurance policy as if it were bubblegum which can be mindlessly bought from a vending machine. They do not realize they are totally on their own until they are in the middle of a serious claim, and lack coverage without the assistance of an agent that knows them and their specific risks. The person on the other end of a phone call may be a different person each time they call. The CSR "customer service rep"  unknown by the policyholder is just moving activity along, they seldom know policyholders nor have the time on their given schedules, or care to know them or their risks at all. The CSR is usually presented with some very little data on a computer screen before them to answer questions hurriedly, but not necessarily properly nor correctly.  In both cases the CSR justifies their actions very proudly as they attempt to convience themselves they have completed a decision and action they know they should do and that it was done as painlessly as possible. In their rejoicing they totally overlook the possible consequences of their careless decision.  It could be as serious for some as trying to attempt surgery on themselves, as presented in a recent TV ad by an insurance company.  We believe an ongoing interactive relationship with your agent has great value and should be a major factor in providing the necessary security for the risks you face today. You need to have someone that can analyze all your possible risk factors and who takes the time to understand the need for reviews with you from time to time as things change with your risks. Today's society presents changes continually.  Policies changes require adjustments for proper application to meet your risks so as to provide the necessary security and peace of mind.

Other reasons why the justified practice of commodity buying as the chosen method for an insurance policy are dangerous.  As presented above, insurance is not a commodity like something your take down off the shelf and carry to the checkout clerk.  An insurance policy is a 20-30 page (more or less) contract, full of complicated and confusing language that can be challenging even to those who work with those policies every day. For example, many times a person when purchasing insurance, will compare the insurance value on a structure, the liability limit, and if medical is provided but never ask when the component parts of the policy provide coverage for the different areas or much less look at the internal limits provided by the contract, things that can really make the difference from policy to policy. How then is it possible for you to just walk up take down a policy from a shelf and be confident of what you bought? The services of a qualified insurance professional are really what you pay for when buying insurance. Anything less underestimates the value of your decision which could costly be later if you have an uncovered claim.

A quality agency (the people behind the products and services): They should attempt to get to know you and build an ongoing relationship with you, they will ask you many qualifying questions, and offer reviews with you from time to time. Quality agents are also available for you when you need them, and they can discuss issues with you because they know you and understand your risks. Based up these factors an agent can be in the best position, after reviewing your risks, to assist you with the proper coverage for your specific risks. This is not to say an agent is not sensitive to the price you have to pay, but much like the old saying, "you get what you pay for," you can be left holding the short end of the stick if you have commodity shopped and not paid attention to the quality of your coverage, or to your agent's level of knowledge or care of their relationship with you.  From the Professional Insurance Agent Newsletter Oct 2004

To review our background, experience, education, and business philosophy 

Note this page on our web site  (click here) then click on your review choice from the provided list. We present you the experience of over 30 years and continual education in our attempt to present our clients quality and up to date advice, products, and service for their security and peace of mind.

Our Phone : 614-899-6000 toll free:  877-471-7997 for AZ, CO, OH,  NM, MI,  KY,  IL, IN,  TN, WV, and WI. We are currently working to add TX, PA, and MD.

Email :  dphelps@phelpsfinancial.com

For specific needs please note our staffing selection and contact the specific specialist for your need. Please note this by a click here:

* Please be reminded that the presentation above presents general concept of a minimum nature necessary for organizations in today's cultural setting.  As stated above only a comprehensive study with you of your organization, its procedures, handbooks, properties, day to day operations, and community will allow us to then work with you for proper applications to meet your specific needs. We feel this is the most critical step your organization can take to have a ministry that offers the necessary security and peace of mind for today to its employees, volunteers, and visitors.  Without this study, your purchase of insurance will be a contract to fund what, that is, what is its purpose?  Without a proper study how do you know what you purchased will do what you think it should do?   Please note that specific definitions are defined by the insurance contact you purchased or are purchasing and should be viewed as the definitions that apply to your ministry.   The above terms, concepts and definitions are not an insurance policy and are given only as a guide to assist you, as these can vary by policy, company or state.  For your specific risk study and insurance application please contact us for best results.  Most ministries will find if difficult to perform such a comprehensive study on themselves just as one would attempt to do surgery on themselves to care their ailment.  

We look forward to the opportunity of building a relationship with you and your ministry.

This material my only be used by permission of the author and may not be sold or used otherwise as presented here in part or in whole.  

Phelps Financial Services, Inc.,659-H Park Meadow Rd. Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: (614) 899-6000 Fax: (614) 899-6022

©Phelps Financial Services, Inc. 2000-2006 All rights reserved

Ed (10/06)

Last updated on Tue, 10/24/2006 - 19:21.
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