Insurance

Contents

General Matters

 

What is insurance?

A contract of insurance is an agreement between the insured and the insurer under which the insurer agrees to accept certain risk on behalf of the insured. The insured pays the insurer a premium to accept the risk. The level of premium is determined by the degree of risk, the amount of cover required, the extent of terms and conditions applied, the history of previous claims and the level of excess payable. The excess is a contribution made by the insured towards the loss.

Church Insurances Ordinance 1981

Under the Church Insurances Ordinance 1981 the Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney (ACPT) arranges for certain insurance policies to be effected on behalf of parishes and some diocesan organisations.

The scope and details of policies may change from year to year. This information is current as at 1 January 2002. Questions about insurance should be directed to the Manager, Insurance Services, Mrs Cindy Wong by telephone on 9265 1679 or email cpw@sydney.anglican.asn.au.

Certificates of Currency for Public Liability

Sometimes church activities take place on premises which are not owned by the parish. The owners of those premises may ask to see a copy of the parish's liability policy or request a copy of it. The ACPT does not give copies of the policy but issues a "Certificate of Currency". A Certificate of Currency can be requested from the Insurance Manager by giving at least 5 working days prior notice. Details of name/type of event, date and precise location of the event, and precise name by whom the certificate is required are to be provided before a Certificate of Currency can be issued.

Kindly note that this certificate is evidence that the parish has public liability insurance only. The parish public liability insurer indemnifies the parish if a third party sustains an injury during a parish activity and if the parish is proven to be legally liable.

Our insurance policies specifically prevent parishes from entering into any agreement with a third party agreeing to indemnify them for public liability obligations.

In relation to a parish using NSW Department of Education (Department) property to conduct parish activities, in 2003 the Department's solicitors agreed to certain changes to the terms of the Standard Community Use Agreement to accommodate the use of school buildings by Anglican Church groups. To ensure that you are using the correct agreement please click on this link to view the circular sent to all the parishes in 2003.

Non-Church use of church premises

The minister or wardens may be approached by persons wishing to lease or hire parish buildings. Among other requirements, approval will only be granted if the user holds the following policies, extended to include the interests of the parish -

(a) a public liability insurance policy with cover of at least $5,000,000, and
(b) If the building is to be used for a pre-school, kindergarten or child care centre or will

involve the giving of advice or counselling - a professional indemnity insurance policy with cover of at least $2,000,000.

Replacement Cost Assessments of real property (buildings and contents)

Buildings

Replacement cost estimates are arranged by the ACPT via a third party insurance valuation firm.  The assets are relevant in determining the total insurance cover for buildings. To ensure that replacement cost estimates are up to date the Manager, Insurance Services must be advised of any significant changes to parish buildings.

Contents

At intervals not exceeding 3 years, the wardens are required to provide to the Manager, Insurance Services, a written estimate of the total replacement cost of all items kept on parish premises, or off parish premises but belonging to the parish. An estimate is required for each building in the parish. Contents that are on permanent loan to the church for use by the church should be included in the estimate unless the owner has its own insurance for the goods while on church premises. These estimates are relevant in determining the total insurance value for contents.

If an item of property is acquired (whether by purchase, donation or otherwise) and the replacement value of that item is $5,000 or more, the wardens must advise the Manager, Insurance Services of the nature of the property and its replacement value. Where the new item of property replaces another item which has been disposed of, details of the replacement cost of that item, immediately prior to disposal, are also to be advised.

Insurances effected by the Property Trust

The Property Trust has effected the following insurances -

  • Buildings and Contents
  • General Public and Products Liability
  • Voluntary Workers' Personal Accident
  • Professional Indemnity
  • Fidelity Guarantee
  • Boats & Pleasure craft
  • Statutory Liability

Buildings

What does the policy cover?

This policy covers all church buildings, halls, residences, shops, offices, garages, carports, sheds and monuments owned by the church against loss or damage caused by specific events.

What are some of these specified events? 

Fire, earthquake, storm & tempest, glass breakage, water damage, vandalism, impact.

The policy does not cover events such as - 

Wear & tear, design faults, scratching & marring, unsuitability for the purpose, damage by pests, normal upkeep, making good, gradual deterioration, developing flaws, fading, mildew, rot, asbestos or other hazardous material removal. (Please note that this is not an exhaustive list).

What is the amount of the cover? 

Buildings are insured for their full replacement cost at the time of loss although special rules apply to heritage buildings. Cover extends to architect's fees, estimating costs, consultant's fees, council fees and charges, demolition, site clearance, temporary safety measures and temporary accommodation.

Is there an excess?

Yes. The excess is generally $500 although higher excesses will in certain circumstances.

Contents

What does this policy cover?

This policy covers all goods owned by a parish and goods on loan to (and accepted by) that parish against loss or damage caused by specified events. The cover includes goods in parish buildings, in the grounds, in transit or elsewhere, including goods owned by a parish on loan to others. The policy does not cover the personal goods of any person unless the goods are on loan to (and accepted by) the parish.

The cover includes theft of, or accidental damage to, a computer owned by or on loan to a parish. Internal malfunction or failure is not covered although if it is due to a source external to the computer there may be some cover. Theft of standard proprietary software is covered, but not its installation on the computer.

Goods donated to a parish for its use or sale at street stalls, fairs, and fetes are automatically covered by the policy.

Money, including offertories, is insured from when it is received until it is banked. Money must to be banked promptly. It is not insured if it is left in an unlocked motor vehicle or in a safe and the key or combination number of the safe is left in the same building.

What are the specified events?

The policy cover includes loss or damage caused by -

Fire, physical damage, water damage, fusion, burglary/theft, vandalism, accidental breakage, breakage of glass.

The policy does not cover events such as -

Employee dishonesty, developing flaws, theft by church officers, design faults, wear & tear, unsuitability for the task, scratching & marring, normal upkeep & making good, damage by pests, unexplained or inventory shortage, gradual deterioration, fading, mildew, rot.

What is the amount of the cover?

All goods owned by or on loan to a parish are insured for their full replacement cost at the time of loss. However, for goods on loan (for example, for exhibitions, displays etc) the cover is limited to $50,000 per claim. If the total replacement cost of goods on loan for the event exceed $50,000, the parish should contact the Manager, Insurance Services.

Goods or equipment brought onto church premises for profit are to be adequately insured for their full replacement cost by the owners of those goods. This may apply to musicians at concerts, arts and crafts etc.

Is there an excess?

Yes. The excess is generally $500, although higher excesses will apply in certain circumstances.

General Public & Products Liability

What does this policy cover?

This policy covers the insured for all sums that the insured may become legally liable to pay by way of compensation to third parties for personal injury or damage to property occurring in connection with the activities of the insured. Personal injury includes bodily injury, death, sickness, disability and shock.

The policy also covers product liability arising from products manufactured, sold, supplied or distributed by the insured. Products include such things as communion wine, books, fete goods etc.

What is the amount of the cover?

The primary cover is $20,000,000.

Examples of activities covered

  • Church services, meetings and functions
  • Picnics, camps
  • Bushwalking
  • Child minding activities, etc
  • Swimming
  • Concerts, plays
  • Girls & boys youth activities
  • Fairs, fetes, street stalls
  • Jumping Castles, trampolines
  • Outreach meetings, social events
  • Horse riding
  • Canoeing, sailing, boating (craft under 8m in length)
  • Train, bus, car, bicycle excursions (in conjunction with the relevant statutory insurance policies)

The policy does not cover claims related to -

  • workers compensation asbestos removal
  • hold harmless agreements registered vehicles
  • vehicles used on public thoroughfares
  • Sporting accidents are not generally covered as they are a normal hazard of sporting activity and are not usually the result of any negligence on the part of the insured.

Is there an excess? 

Yes - various as per policy.

Voluntary Workers' Personal Accident

What does this policy cover? 

The policy covers many expenses and loss of income resulting from incapacity due to injury sustained while the voluntary worker, aged 12-95 years, is engaged in unpaid work (including direct travel to and from the point of work) authorised by and under the control of the minister, wardens or parish council of the parish. There is no cover for incapacity due to illness.

What cover is provided?

The amount of benefits payable depends on the type and extent of injury sustained.

Note that no benefits are payable for any medical expenses covered by Medicare.

Is there an excess?

Yes - as per policy.

Immediate notification of claims

All claims or potential claims are to be notified to the Manager, Insurance Services within 30 days of the accident. Claims or potential claims which are not notified in that period may not be covered. If a church official is unsure of whether an incident is notifiable he or she should err on the side of caution and report it.

Professional Indemnity

What does this policy cover?

This policy covers the liability of any church organisation, individual official and/or employee for claims made by reason of any wrongful act in the course of professional services rendered. Cover includes damages and legal costs. The policy does not cover claims by officers in the same organisation, disputes with the NSW Government in relation to Acts which govern the affairs of Diocese, claims resulting from counselling other than by clergy or claims resulting from activities of separately incorporated entities.

Is there an excess?

Yes - as per policy.

Immediate notification of claims

All claims or potential claims are to be notified to the Manager, Insurance Services immediately. Claims or potential claims which are not notified in the policy period in which they become know are not covered. If a church official is unsure of whether an incident is notifiable he or she should err on the side of caution and report it.

Statutory Liability

What does this policy cover?

This policy provides some cover for penalties and fines arising from breaches of statute. Generally, the policy does not apply to breaches of the taxation legislation or consumer protection acts, but will apply to fines and penalties arising from breaches of other statute (eg employment law, heritage, environmental law, local government law etc).

Is there an excess?

Yes - as per policy.

Immediate notification of claims

All claims or potential claims are to be notified to the Manager, Insurance Services immediately. Claims or potential claims which are not notified in the policy period in which they become known are not covered. If a church official is unsure of whether an incident is notifiable he or she should err on the side of caution and report it.

Fidelity Guarantee

What does this policy cover? 

This policy covers loss or money due to a dishonest or fraudulent act or omission by a church official. The policy requires that separate trust accounts for funds be maintained and these are to be independently audited by a duly qualified accountant at least annually. All cheques are to be signed by not less than two authorised persons.

The policy does not extend to dishonest or fraudulent acts by the same persons after the date of discovery of the original act. The insurer has the right to sue the perpetrators of the act for recoveries. Monies owing to the perpetrator and held by the organisation will be deducted from the claim.

Is there an excess?

Yes - as per policy.

Immediate notification of claims 

All claims or potential claims are to be notified to the Manager, Insurance Services immediately. Claims or potential claims which are not notified in the policy period in which they become known are not covered. I f a church official is unsure of whether an incident is notifiable he or she should err on the side of caution and report it.

Boats and Pleasure craft

What does this policy cover? 

The policy covers accidental loss or damage to boats, pleasure craft and their equipment, also trailers used exclusively for carrying boats and pleasure craft. The policy does not cover trailers when they are on a public road. The owner of a trailer must have their own compulsory third party (CTP) insurance policy for their trailer for when it is being towed on a public road.

The policy does not cover loss or damage caused by - 

Vermin, wear and tear, insects, rusting, marine growth, corrosion, lack of maintenance, theft of motors, equipment and accessories unless fixed to the vessel or locked in a secure area.

This policy only insure boats, pleasure craft, equipment and trailers the full details of which have been advised in writing to the Insurance Officer.

What is the amount of the cover? 

Boats, pleasure craft and trailers are insured for their full replacement cost at the time of the loss. Cover extends to towage costs and salvage charges. Equipment eg sails and motors etc are insured for their full replacement cost except the insurer may deduct up to one third of the cost of new items replacing old where such items are over 3 years old.

Is there an excess?

Yes - as per policy.

Claims

Minimisation of Loss

Once a loss has been discovered, immediate steps must be taken to contain and minimise the loss.

The police should be informed immediately if the loss is due to theft, vandalism, arson or vehicle impact. This may result in the offenders being apprehended thus preventing further losses, and in the case of theft may result in recovery of stolen goods.

If the loss includes damage to the building with consequent reduction in security, the repairs whether temporary or permanent should be arranged as soon as possible. It may be necessary to make additional arrangements for security.

If the loss is due to water damage then the source of the water should be sealed off and all things liable to damage by the water moved or protected, dried, etc.

If the loss creates a safety problem (eg premises are unsafe due to fire, impact or vandalism) then steps must be taken to minimise the danger. Endangered goods must be removed.

If fire damage occurs discuss with the senior fire brigade officer the services available for temporary protection of property.

Claims Procedure

An incident likely to give rise to a claim is to be reported within 30 days of the parish / diocesan organisation becoming aware of the incident to the Manager, Insurance Services who will send the parish a letter outlining the procedure and ask for a Claim's Form that will be appended to the letter, to be completed and be sent to the claims Manager at Marsh Claims along with two (2) quotes to rectify the damage.  The claims form will request the following information -

  • your name
  • your position in the church (eg warden)
  • your telephone number, (email address, and facsimile number if available)
  • name of the parish 
  • name of branch church (if applicable)
  • church postal address for the despatch of claim form
  • date of loss or incident
  • type of loss or incident (eg storm damage, water damage, theft, vandalism, fire, impact, liability incident)
  • if the police have been advised (essential for theft, vandalism, arson, impact vehicle claims)
  • estimate of total loss
  • building and location where loss or incident has occurred
  • name and age of the person injured, including brief details of injury
  • name and address of any person whose property has been damaged
  • if a motor vehicle was involved, the vehicle registration number, name and address of owner, driver,
  • name of vehicle insurer.

The claim information is immediately sent to our insurance broker, who handles all details including sending out claim forms, instructions, arranging for a loss assessor or investigator. In the case of injuries, the insurer will deal directly with the injured party.

Additional Note: Liability Claims

Under no circumstances should anyone involved in, witnessing, or later approached about the incident, admit liability. Render all help necessary, but do not admit liability. The incident is to be reported to the Manager, Insurance Services immediately so that he/she can provide further advice as to what further appropriate action should be taken.

Note that a Workcover Authority of New South Wales ("WorkCover") Accident Report form must be obtained and completed following any accident in which a person dies or is injured to the extent that he or she cannot carry out their usual duties for at least 7 days continuous. WorkCover's definition of employee includes visitors. The form must be completed and sent direct to WorkCover. If the injured person is an employee of the parish then a photocopy of the form should be sent to the parish's workers compensation insurer. Please send a photocopy of the completed WorkCover form to the Manager, Insurance Services as all incidents in which a person dies or is seriously injured must be notified to the church's public liability insurers. WorkCover Accident Report forms are available from WorkCover phone 1800 658 134.  The WorkCover website may be accessed via this link.  https://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

Additional Note: Glass Breakage Claims

After reporting breakage arrange for replacement of glass, or if security is critical, arrange replacement before reporting. Pay glass repairer's bill and claim in the usual way. There is no agreement whereby the insurer can reimburse the glass repairer directly. Windows broken at different times or on different days are separate claims, each with the normal excess.

Additional Note: Claims for Water Damage to Carpets 

Contact a specialist carpeting firm or carpet layer and have wet carpet and underfelt lifted, dried and stretched immediately. It may not be possible or practicable to save the underfelt. If the carpet is permanently damaged by the water, or shrinks to the extent that it cannot be relaid, the obtain quotations for its replacement. Carpet replacement is limited as follows -

(a) only that area damaged, to a maximum of the floor area of the room in which damage occurred, and

(b) replacement with carpet identical to that damaged, or if unavailable, then the equivalent in colour, pattern, quality etc.

Other Insurances

The insurance policies described above are effected by the ACPT which pays the premiums. Under the Church Administration Ordinance 1990, the wardens are to effect (and pay the premium for ) any other insurance appropriate to the activities of the parish. The ACPT may be able to assist with the arrangements. The following is a list of other insurances which parishes may need to consider -

  • Workers Compensation
  • Construction Work
  • Professional Indemnity (counselling, incorporated entity)
  • Pluvious (Rain)
  • Motor Vehicle

Workers Compensation

This insurance is to be effected by the wardens directly with the insurers. To obtain appropriate cover, information on the number of employees, total wages paid and job classifications should be regularly updated with the insurer. Workers compensation insurance is required by legislation to be provided for all employees including student ministers and people receiving an honorarium eg organists.

Ministers and assistant ministers licensed to a parish are not employees for the purposes of the Workers Compensation Act.

Professional Indemnity - Counselling

An incorporated entity that is separate to the parish is to have its own public liability insurance of at least $5,000,000. If its activities include counselling or giving advice then in addition it is to have professional indemnity insurance of at least $2,000,000.

Professional Indemnity - Incorporated Entity - Separate to the parish

An incorporated entity that is separate to the parish is to have its own public liability insurance of at least $5,000,000. If its activities include counselling or giving advice then in addition it is to have professional indemnity insurance of at least $2,000,000.

Motor Vehicles

Unregistered vehicles are covered by the diocesan public liability policy provided they are not operating on public thoroughfares. The Roads & Traffic Authority should be consulted as to what constitutes a public thoroughfare. The definition is extremely wide. Registered vehicles are not covered by the diocesan liability policy. The owner of the vehicle is to make their own insurance arrangement.

Construction Work

Contracts involving construction work are to stipulate that the following insurance policies be arranged by the builder -

(a) Contracts works - in joint names of contractor and owner for the whole of the works including transit risks, from commencement of the works to final hand-over, for the full contract sum and adjusted when necessary for any variations. The policy should also cover damage to existing buildings during extension work and the loss or theft of materials.

(b) Third Party public liability - in joint names of the contractor and the owner for a minimum cover of $5,000,000.

(c) Workers' compensation - to cover all employees of the contractor/builder in their appropriate classifications.

Pluvious (Rain)

There is no diocesan policy for recovery of expenses incurred or loss of income due to wet weather affecting a planned event. A special policy should be arranged by the wardens, if required. The sum insured is to be determined prior to the event and should be a realistic estimate of cost to be incurred or income to be derived from the event.

The amount of rainfall cover required and its duration (before/during the event) is to be carefully considered and relates to the rainfall characteristics of the district, as the acceptance of any claim by the insurer will be based on the reading of the rain gauge at the nearest weather station to the place of the event. The Manager, Insurance Services, on receipt of this information, can obtain a quote for pluvious insurance. The request is to be received at least a month before the event.

Risk Management

First of all, have a look at your own parish. What is it like?

  • How would you describe your locality?
  • What are the main risks present at your parish?
  • What problems have you had in the past?
  • How many insurance claims have you had this year and what kind were they?
  • What was the most common types of claims made? Why?
  • What can be done to prevent/reduce these risks?

Fire Security

  • Fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets should be of suitable type, appropriate numbers and location, be serviced regularly and comply with the relevant regulations. Training sessions should be given on the ways in which fire fighting equipment is to be used.
  • Entrances and exits of buildings are to be free from obstruction both inside and outside the building (especially fire exits).
  • Lighting and/or signs as appropriate should be provided where visibility is limited. Ensure light bulbs are replaced immediately if not operable. Check that you have clearly marked exit signs and that they are illuminated in darkness.
  • Doors should operate easily and freely.
  • Are there any dangerous goods stored on the church premises? Ensure that the amount being stored complies with the relevant regulations and that it is stored in a safe area well clear of buildings.

Security

  • Consider the installation of an intruder alarm/panic button as a solution to security problems? Perhaps consult a professional security firm for advice.
  • Are all doors and windows adequately secured? Perhaps seek the advice of a locksmith to improve the level of internal and external door security.
  • The issue of keys should be strictly controlled, and only the minimum number issued. An up-to-date key register must be monitored and ensure keys are returned when no longer required.
  • Provide a lockable area within your property in which audio and musical instruments can be secured when not in use. Restrict access to this area.
  • Maintain an asset register of your more valuable equipment. List the Make/Model/Serial Number and purchase price of valuable equipment.
  • Computer work should be backed up regularly and the copies kept in a safe place, not near the computer. Laptops should be stored away in a secure place when they are not being used.
  • Some parishes have buildings which are empty or only used infrequently. To meet requirements for insurance cover, all buildings are to be entered and inspected at least once per month and be maintained in a reasonable condition.

Maintenance

  • Buildings must be adequately maintained, particularly steps and pathways. Are the floor surfaces wet or uneven? If so, and the problem cannot be fixed immediately put up warning signs.
  • Work quality should be of adequate standard. Poorly executed repairs may result in property damage or personal injury.
  • Electrical switchboards and wiring should be adequate and properly maintained. Surge arresters should be installed on both the power and telephone lines connected to electrical equipment including computers, switchboards, organs etc to prevent damage from lightning strikes.
  • Remove any dangerous/hanging tree limbs. However, seek approval from the council if required.
  • Are there loose tiles, slates falling off roofs or dangerous trim/cladding on windows or walls? If so, arrange repairs immediately.

Safety

  • Only people with the appropriate skills should use specialised equipment, or do specialist work.
  • Is there a First Aid Kit on site?
  • Ensure you have arranged workers compensation insurance for all paid staff.
  • Voluntary Workers - Match the skill and physical ability of the worker with the task to be performed. Use appropriate trades person for tasks beyond the capability of your group.
  • Supervisors of activities should be mature, responsible and properly trained. Ensure that there are sufficient supervisors for the participants in every activity.
  • Safeguarding of cash and valuables on premises, offsite and in transit:- Always keep petty cash in a locked container. If possible, place it in the safe when the property is unattended. Banking of all offertories and other receipts should be completed at the first opportunity. Vary your routine when depositing cash, both in time of day and route taken. Be alert for curious onlookers or people acting suspiciously around you. Do not leave money in an unattended vehicle.
  • Buildings are to comply with all government and safety regulations.

Activities

  • Ensure that all reasonable precautions are exercised in relation to all activities organised by the church and that the activity complies with all government and safety regulations eg is permission required from council, fire brigade, police etc.
  • Ensure that supervisors of such activities are mature, responsible and properly trained and that the equipment to be used is of good standard. With sports such as boxing and hang-gliding where the supervisor may be a professional instructors, enquire whether they have their own insurance cover.
  • When the minister or churchwardens are approached by persons wishing to lease or hire buildings, as well as a licence agreement, ensure that the user holds insurance policies, extended to include the interests of your parish -

(a) a Public Liability insurance policy with cover of at least $5,000,000 and 

(b) if the use of the building is for a pre-school, kindergarten or child care centre or will involve the giving of advice or counselling - a professional indemnity insurance policy with cover of at least $2,000,000.
 

 

If you have any questions about Insurance please email us at cpw@sydney.anglican.asn.au or acptta@sydney.anglican.asn.au

 

The contents of this document are for general information only. No person should rely on the contents of this document without first obtaining advice from a qualified professional person. Neither the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney nor any organisation thereof is responsible for the results of any action taken on the basis of the contents of this document, nor for any error in or omission from this document.