It's no secret that insuring your church is important. Part one of this blog series explored why purchasing insurance for your church is a great way to fully protect congregants, visitors and assets from harm. However, insurance is only one piece of the proactive building management puzzle. Facility managers understand that assets within a church must be monitored and maintained in order to pass inspections and meet insurance-related requirements. Using a facility management software is a great way to aggregate asset information, prove compliance and provide evidence for reduced insurance premiums.
To break down how software and church insurance go hand-in-hand, we interviewed Walt Wellborn of Whitman Insurance Agency, who lends his insight on facility management software and the insurance-related benefits that churches can gain from using one.
AkitaBox: Walt, tell me again a bit about yourself. How did you come to work in the insurance industry?
Walt Wellborn: “I am fairly new to the insurance business, having first spent 20 years in IT. Today, I work with Whitman Insurance agency and focus on church insurance and personal lines. For the last 15 years, I have worked with asset management systems, which has given me great insight on the asset life cycle. Asset management is extremely important when joined with insurance.”
AB: Why are you passionate about insuring churches?
Wellborn: “I've always been passionate about churches. I was called to the ministry when I was ten years old and spent much of my youth doing revivals and music for the church. Now I serve as a commissioned minister with the Disciples of Christ. Every day, I see the struggles that churches have when it comes to understanding and buying insurance. I consider my work with these churches a ministry.”
AB: What sets Whitman Insurance agency apart from other insurance companies?
Wellborn: “Whitman Insurance Agency is an independent agency. While we focus on churches and their needs, we are also able to help churches and congregants with everything from auto, health and life insurance to homeowners insurance. Being independent gives us the flexibility to find the right products to meet your needs, both financially and securely.”
7 More Common Questions on Church Insurance and Facility Management Software
AB: From an insurance point-of-view, why should churches seriously consider purchasing an asset management system?
Wellborn: “Churches are notorious for not documenting repair work or maintenance inspections. Unfortunately, this can be harmful when they are trying to get insurance. Underwriters want to know the maintenance history of the church, and lack of history generally means higher premiums. For example, if a church cannot show the last time their roof was repaired or inspected, the underwriter is going to take his or her best guess — and this is usually not to the church’s advantage.”
AB: Are there opportunities to get reduced insurance premiums by implementing a software that captures routine maintenance and fire/life safety inspections?
Wellborn: “I don’t know of any carrier that gives discounts for having an asset management system, but I personally feel that this day is right around the corner. Having a system in place to track physical asset management shows a desire by the church to keep the facility maintained. Underwriters look favorably on that.
When it comes to medium and large churches, there are definite savings to be had in having a system that tracks maintenance, enforces inspection schedules and encourages regular maintenance over crisis management. Statistics have shown that systems and buildings that are inspected and maintained on a specific schedule have extended asset life and fewer emergency repairs. An asset management system can also reduce the risk of collateral damage from fire or water.”
AB: If a church isn’t convinced that a facility management software would save them money, what would you say?
Wellborn: “Many churches view facility management software as an expense they cannot afford. What they do not realize is that combining facility management software and a strong preventative maintenance plan can actually save a significant amount of money on repair bills. Most of the time, savings far exceed the cost of the maintenance software.”
AB: What are some other benefits of using a facility management software in a church?
Wellborn: “In general, it’s not too difficult to show a church where they are falling short on maintenance. For example, I will ask when the roof or the sprinkler system was last inspected, or when the last time was that they needed a plumber to fix a major leak. Church maintenance teams generally have no way to give me that information without contacting someone who was there at the time, or searching for an invoice that showed the repairs. This process is very time consuming. Using a facility management software is a great way to support preventative maintenance practices and compile important documentation and invoices in one central spot.”
AB: To justify reduced premiums, what evidence or facilities data should a church provide to an insurance company?
Wellborn: “Insurance companies want to see evidence of consistent maintenance within a church. Churches should maintain regular inspection schedules, including quarterly roof inspections, annual fire inspections and monthly security inspections. Lastly, churches should compile inspection reports when inspections occur.”
AB: If a church already uses a facility management software, what is the best way to present facilities-related data to an insurance company?
Wellborn: “Most often, facilities reports will go to the insurance agent. The agent acts as an intermediary between the church and the insurance carrier, so he or she will be the best person to take the report and present it to the underwriter. The agent will do his or her best to show the church in the best light and to get the best premium for the client. This is usually done either at the time the policy is initially being quoted or when the insurance is being reviewed.”
AB: Do you have any closing advice for churches regarding insurance best practices?
Wellborn: “Churches, like any other entity, should look at their insurance policy with their agent at least once a year. Many people are under the mistaken notion that corrections can only be done at renewal and that just isn’t true. Corrections and reports can be presented for consideration to the carrier at any point, which could result in lowered premiums.”
FREE RESOURCES FOR CHURCH FACILITY MANAGERS
Oftentimes, pastors and church facility managers know the inner workings of their churches like the backs of their hands. However, there’s always room to learn and improve. To boost your knowledge on church insurance and church facilities operations, check out the following three online resources.
- AkitaBox’s 2019 Guide to Church Care and Religious Facility Management: This free ebook is your essential guide to church facility management. Inside, you’ll find innovative church design ideas, budget best practices, efficient cleaning tips and more. Learn more about the ebook and its contents here.
- Facility Management Software for Churches: For more information on the benefits of facility management software for churches, watch a video demonstration of AkitaBox software or contact a friendly AkitaBox representative for help.
- Church Insurance Insight: To learn more about church insurance, follow Whitman Insurance Agency’s blog here.
About Walt Wellborn
Walt Wellborn serves as an agent for the Whitman Insurance Agency, advising churches on insurance best practices on how best to protect their facilities. In addition to helping religious organizations during his day job, Walt serves as a commissioned minister for the Disciples of Christ and has spent over 20 years in theater doing design work, directing and teaching theater arts. In his free time, Walt enjoys writing classical orchestral and choral music, practicing photography and spending time with his wife, Sandra, five children and six grandchildren.