OFFICIAL MEMO: Ministry Precautions for Infectious Disease (COVID-19)
Hello Ministry Leader,
Below, you’ll find helpful tips compiled from the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) as well as other agencies. Along with actionable steps to help your leadership solidify your ‘Infections Disease Plan’, we’ve also included information regarding the level of coverage for Ministry Continuation, General Liability & Medical Payments, as well as Mission Travel Coverage.
Review your Ministry’s Infectious Disease Plan
While health officials are keeping a close watch on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, now is a good time to review your ministry’s infectious disease plan to ensure you’re taking reasonable steps to protect your employees, volunteers, and those you serve. If you don’t currently have a plan in place, the CDC can help get you started: Guidance for Community and Faith Organizations.
Our agency has also attached the official memo from the State of Michigan and you can find additional press releases and resources here: Michigan Defense Strategies Against COVID-19.
When it comes to taking immediate steps for prevention, your ministry can implement the following precautionary considerations:
* Replace all ‘in-person’ meetings with indirect forms of communication, such as conference calls, videoconferencing or facetime.
* Identify protective measures for your volunteers and staff who may be involved in community outreach work.
* Educate your staff and greets to use verbal greetings, instead of physical contact, like handshakes or hugs.
* Build up a supply of alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to be readily available, as well as disposable wipes to clean off frequently used surfaces.
* Encourage staff, volunteers, and attendees to stay home when they are sick, especially with respiratory disease symptoms and communicate the availability to view or listen to services online, if able.
* Arrange for tithes and offerings to be digitally given, by web or phone.
* Skip communion or find an alternative to communal cup share or breaking of bread.
* Develop a plan to communicate with your congregation your ministry’s precautions and if there’s any need to change, postpone or cancel activities or services.
Ministry Continuation Coverage for Loss of Income, Extra Expense
There may be a level of coverage provided under the optional The Earnings and Donations or Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage Part of your Commercial Policy, which is an optional endorsement that allows the extension of coverage after a covered loss, during a restoration period that causes an interruption in regular ministry operations. Under this optional coverage part, a “covered loss” may include interruption to ministry operations, only as a direct result of a ministry employee or staff member acquiring an infectious disease. This optional endorsement may also provide coverage for ministry interruption when associated with “civil authority”, whereas an interruption is caused by state or local government, municipalities, and/or health departments. Please note that coverage limits vary per policyholder, which can be located on your policy declarations and coverage limits cannot be changed or amended for the foreseeable future.
Commercial General Liability & Medical Payments Associated with COVID-19
In general terms, the general liability is used to financially indemnity injured parties, when there would be bodily injury or property damage claims that arise from the ministry’s negligence. In the case of the coronavirus, if a member or attendee contracted the disease there may be coverage, however, the likelihood of recovery under the general liability part would be very low, as the ministry would have to be proven completely negligent. Nonetheless, your ministry should take every necessary precaution to avoid a situation like this, and be prudent to cancel services if a virus or diseases was imminently known.
As far as medical payments are concerned, it is unlikely that coverage would be provided for any bodily injury as a result of a virus or infectious diseases, as it is unlikely that an individual would be able to establish that the virus was acquired on the ministry’s premises or as a result of your ministry activities.
Mission Travel Coverage through Faith Ventures
In the event that your ministry has active mission travelers or trips, I encourage you to check out the Coronavirus Q&A by Faith Ventures, which provides tips, additional resources, and coverage insights to assist in the area.
If you have additional questions that weren’t answered by this email or would like to clarify specific details pertaining to your specific policy, please feel free to connect with our Client Support team by phone, (800) 732-0096, or email, email@example.com, and we’ll do our best to help you as quickly as we are able to.