Overview of the Church, Non-Profit, and Religious Institutions – Insurance Needs and Risk Management Issues Part One: Financial challenges

by Brad Shrum, CPCU

piggy bank photo
Photo by 401(K) 2013

Churches and Religious organizations in 2016 America are faced with several dilemmas and challenges unlike any past generations.  As we look and dissect these challenges, we also want to partner and meet the needs of our churches and any new churches that will come underneath our shield of protection. Below are several items that churches should not only be aware of, but also be pro-active.

According to Decision Magazine, many institutions that are filed as non-profit entities realistically face a growing struggle of meeting annual budgets.  Couple this with the economic dynamics of the last half of the first decade and there is a feel of a steam rolling effect.  This is due to the following:

1) A decreasing trend of all faiths where individuals are belonging and attending a local religious institution for various reasons. What we see can be attributed to age, cultural, and society changes in attitudes.

2) With this trend comes less giving and donations that support not only the institution, but a large number of ministries within the scope of the institution. This is extremely difficult if an institution now has “too much building” and debt for its congregational size.

3) Lack of perpetuation among older congregations to sustain their ministry. This is particularly true of religious entities in the smaller, rural areas of America but also include many metro and suburbia houses of worship.

4) Insurance costs, as well as other fixed expenses, are deemed unnecessary at times, which gravely exposes an institution’s assets and responsibility to any third-party individuals or groups. These attendees are lawfully considered “invitees” and must be protected at all costs.

5) Regularly there is a “low cost” approach an entity assumes in the insurance buying as a result of one or more of these above characteristics. What we see from this approach are under insured properties, including the main structure, dropping of coverage items that may be to their detriment, and lack of upkeep on many real property assets.

6) Under-staffing of professional employees. This has both an immediate and long term effect on all faith based non-profits and is key piece to the promotion and growth of the respective faith.

In Part 2 of this series, we will touch on the transfer of risks and the overall health to an entity we believe will sustain them for future viability and help with the financial challenges.

If you have any questions about church insurance or insurance protection for your non-profit, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to assist you.


“Decision Magazine” – March and April issues of 2016. Published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – Charlotte, NC.

“Mature Living – Living a Christian Legacy”, July of 2015.


About Brad Shrum
Brad Shrum
Goose Hunter, Father of two sons, and Insurance Agent!
Direct Phone – 913-754-3823
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Brad has worked at MAX for the past 14 years and has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry doing underwriting, field management work, and sales. Outside of the office, Brad is an ordained Southern Baptist Deacon and a Sunday School teacher of 30 years. In addition, Brad is a long-time Vacation Bible School teacher and has an ongoing 19 year Nursing Home Ministry. Since he was a young teenager, Brad has been an avid goose hunter, traveling across North America while pursuing this noble bird and enjoying the outdoor world.

Photo by 401(K) 2013

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