Church Nonprofit Property and Casualty

Loss Control Tips: Houses of Worship – Professional Liability

Owning and operating a house of worship—whether it be a church, synagogue, temple or chapel—can be a rewarding endeavor. These establishments play a major role in bringing faith-based communities together for a wide range of activities and celebrations, such as prayer services, religious studies, youth programs, weddings, baptisms, funerals, confirmations and holiday parties. However, operating a house of worship also carries significant risks. House of worship owners have to manage numerous property and liability exposures and often provide many additional services (e.g., serving food and drinks, hosting events and leading various community programs) that can dramatically increase the number of risks. That’s why it’s vital to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource outlines common risks houses of worship must address and offers helpful strategies to avoid possible claims.

A work mistake, failure to provide promised services or alleged negligence can be detrimental to a house of worship, as they could result in major lawsuits or financial losses. Houses of worship should implement these precautions to limit professional liability:

  • Develop and implement an adequate vetting and application process for hiring both paid staff and volunteers.
  • Ensure a training program is in place for new staff members and volunteers. Volunteers should be partnered with experienced employees until they can demonstrate complete competence in their designated tasks.
  • Establish adequate protocols for handling allegations of breach of confidentiality, child molestation, sexual misconduct or other forms of harassment against employees.
  • Make sure counselors are licensed and practicing within their scope if the house of worship provides counseling services.
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It’s essential for houses of worship to implement proper risk management precautions to limit costly insurance claims and lawsuits. It can also offer various benefits, such as greater member satisfaction, bolstered employee and volunteer safety, fewer liability concerns and reduced potential for property damage.

Although this resource provides a range of loss control strategies, houses of worship don’t have to establish risk management programs alone. Working with a qualified and experienced insurance professional can make all the difference.  Our team of P&C experts at ChurchInsure is here to help. If you need assistance with insurance solutions and additional loss control techniques for houses of worship please contact us today at (336) 250-0075.

ChurchInsure is a division of Anchor Insurance Agencies specializing in the unique insurance and risk management needs of religious institutions. Visit our website to learn how we can serve you at

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