NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The general secretary of the General Council on Finance and Administration has sent out a follow-up letter in an attempt to clarify matters for local churches as it relates to insurance coverage.
The letter is as follows:
I bring you blessings from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). Let me thank you for your ministry to the people of God around the world. Disciple making happens in local United Methodist churches. It is always our goal to support you by being your partner in the ministry of administration.
You recently received a letter from the President of United Methodist Insurance (UMI) which concerned changes made by the 2016 General Conference to Paragraph 2533 of The Book of Discipline. The letter has been interpreted, mistakenly we believe, to imply that a certain standard of insurance was mandated by the legislation adopted by the General Conference and that a specific insurance carrier is to be required in the future.
Neither is the case. What the legislation did provide was that at least annually the local board of trustees review the local church’s insurance coverage, both in terms of type of policies and coverage limits – and compare that coverage with recommendations made by GCFA, who has as one of its responsibilities the protection of the assets of the various parts of our denomination. It also requires that the local church trustees report annually that such a review has occurred and, should there be a difference between the local church coverage and the GCFA recommendations, what steps are planned to move to the recommended insurance coverage.
Furthermore, while we believe that UMI, a captive insurance company wholly-owned by GCFA on behalf of our connection, can provide appropriate levels and types of insurance at competitive rates, this legislation did not mandate use of any insurance company. The specific language of the pertinent section of The Book of Discipline, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, is attached.
As good stewards we need to ensure that every local church has adequate insurance coverage, so that assets are protected and so that vital discipleship-making ministries can continue should a catastrophe occur.
We pray every day for your ministries and hope that if you have any questions about this matter, you contact us.
General Secretary and Treasurer
General Council on Finance and Administration