Congregational have recently introduced a “Hirers’ Indemnity” extension at modest additional premium. Details are attached for your kind attention.
This is a complicated and often misunderstood subject. Churches often contact us to ask if they are covered for hirers. We explain that their own Public Liability cover indemnifies the Church for any claim against them in relation to ownership/ occupation of the building, whether that claim be from a member of the congregation, a visitor or indeed hirer. It would also indemnify the Church if they were held to be liable where someone is injured as a result of say faulty furniture or a slippery floor.
We have always encouraged Churches to ensure that hirers have their own insurance, to cover their own activities and indeed any equipment they may leave in the Church premises. Such Insurance should also cover the hirers for any activities carried out elsewhere. Churches have a duty to ensure that they take due care in who they allow to hire the buildings and for what purposes in order to protect the buildings contents and the safety of visitors to the church.
When Churches are hiring to national bodies (such as Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous) or indeed an established Charity or club, the Church should have a hiring agreement in place which would require they have their own liability insurance to cover them for their activities at the Church (and elsewhere). The question that sometimes arises usually relates to “one off” hirings, such as a birthday party or another family celebration: these latter examples could well be picked up under someone’s household Insurance which includes Personal Liability cover automatically: However, there is of course no guarantee that household Insurance is in force. In these circumstances the Church can obtain cover which will give protection to the hirer themselves for their own activities. It is important in these instances that the Church supplies the hirer with the relevant documentation and maintains its own records as required. The provision of this insurance does not absolve the Church from taking due care in the activities of hirers.
As several of their competitors have offered a hirers extension for some time Congregational, with some reluctance, are now offering it. It is not aimed at regular hirers, nor indeed any commercial lets. The extension does not cover abuse. The Church must bear in mind that if a claim does occur it will affect THEIR no claims history, and therefore possible future premium. The standard Public Liability limit is £5m.
We do hope this helps but we would encourage you to contact us should you have any queries or concerns.