COVID-19 and your Methodist Church Insurance policy January 2021 (now extended)

15 March 2021

Further to our announcement in January, and in light of the extended lockdown period, please note we are extending our temporary cover enhancements to expire 31/05/21.

Please see below the automatic enhancements we are applying to all policies during this period to provide additional peace of mind.
 
  • There will be no additional premiums for these enhancements;
  • These enhancements apply until any expiry date applicable to them;
  • We will review and extend these enhancements for a further period if we deem it appropriate;
  • These enhancements will be applied via this Letter of Intent and will apply as if endorsed onto each policy.

Employees (including clergy, church officials and authorised volunteers) working from home

Your church policy includes as standard, cover for contents whilst away from the premises and / or specifically at the homes of employees.

Liability - health and safety

Resources for employers are signposted by the Health and Safety Executive on their latest information and advice page.  As organisations look to different working models for continuity, they also have useful guidance on homeworking and working alone.

Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, both Employers’ and Public Liability policies provide an indemnity to the policyholder if they are held legally liable for accidental bodily injury or illness arising in connection with their business.

Churches that engage in emergency community support programmes or similar that help supply food and provisions to those affected by the movement restrictions

We would consider this work to be part of the usual activities of the church. However, we would expect the individual churches to follow Public Health England (or equivalent body)/government guidance at all times and observe any precautions stipulated by those bodies. There would be no additional premium in respect of these activities.

Churches that are temporarily closed / unoccupied – applicable until 15/02/21 (now extended to 31/05/21)

Under the current regulations the Government has permitted public worship to continue, if it is safe to do so. Equally, the Government has requested that where possible people should stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

Many churches have decided to offer digital services only for the time being, others are continuing to remain open, in a Covid-secure way, for individual prayer and public worship. The circumstances in each place will inform a local decision.

Church buildings that are temporarily closed are exposed to different and usually greater risk than buildings that are open for regular use.

It is a condition of your policy that you advise us when the use of a building is ceased on a permanent basis and we would then apply restrictions in cover and conditions precedent to cover that need to be complied with. Normally we would also charge an additional premium.

However, we can confirm that temporary closure of your church buildings due to the COVID-19 outbreak would not result in us applying restrictions in your cover or charging any additional premium. We do however expect that you manage the risks associated with a closed building and we have therefore developed a guide to help you do this. 

Closed churches can still be entered for certain purposes including:

  • Maintenance, where this is reasonably necessary; and
  • Other work to ensure a church’s readiness to open again.

We do still strongly recommend you implement risk management measures to reduce the risk of damage – please refer to our risk management guidance here for further information. 

With weather forecasts predicting prolonged periods of cold / freezing weather across the UK, this risk management is especially important to avoid or minimise losses and disruption to church activities.

Any visits to or work undertaken at the church premises should be in line with the latest Government guidelines.

We hope that this provides the reassurance you need in these unprecedented times. If you are unsure about any of the guidance or have any other questions relating to your church insurance please contact us on 0345 606 1331.