One of the top priority issues facing our agency's church clientele involves a genuine concern for how to best protect the church congregation during services and church activities. With that in mind, here are some risk management factors to consider in dealing with church security.
Authorize Church Members for Security
An important part of swift reaction in the event of a violent church incident is the development and training of specific individuals who have been authorized to act on behalf of the church body in securing the premises. This may involve armed or unarmed security personnel, but all should have training to follow specific protocol and have an understanding of the duties to which they have been assigned.
Prepare and Plan for Emergencies
Many church leaders might be hesitant to broach the subject of church violence scenarios but the ultimate goal should be to prepare the church for such an event in order to minimize injury and prevent ineffective response from the church congregation at the time of an incident. Drills, building maps, hand signals, and code words should be determined and carried out so that the church members can feel more confident about the pro-active approach from church leadership.
Know Legal Regulations for Security
Most states have some type of policy regarding Concealed Carry rights within the church and church leaders should be certain they have done due diligence in verifying the legal parameters regarding who can, should, or should not carry in the church. Any policies and procedures documents that specify these issues for the church should be followed consistently with no deviation, and should be reviewed by an attorney familiar with your state's laws.
Review Your Insurance Coverage Each Year
With the implementation of a security team the church leadership will want to verify if coverage is available or can be extended on the current policy to protect Security Operations within the church. This entails a phone call to your agent to clarify what your policy will cover. Church insurance carriers determine the coverage limitations and specifics of each church policy. Some companies offer coverage endorsements which are very basic with limited coverage for security while others provide very broad coverage for security personnel activities and injuries, as well as coverage for damage to weapons they may use within the scope of their duties. Don't hesitate to call your agent today and determine which coverage is best for your church.
Our producers at Loomis Insurance will be glad to work with you in providing coverage to meet your needs. Call us at 1-800-743-7205 for more information.