SWG Property – Commercial Property: Protecting Places of Worship with Specialized Coverage

Mar 2020

SWG Property – Commercial Property: Protecting Places of Worship with Specialized Coverage

On a sunny morning in the spring of 2019, parishioners arrived at St. Joseph’s Church in Mission, B.C. for Sunday morning service to find its doors and walls covered in graffiti. (1) For the church’s staff, petty crimes like this are a common occurrence. In the last six months St. Joseph’s had been vandalised twice, had suffered break-ins, and had donation box money stolen.

Theft and vandalism are a common risk factor in this sector, and that’s not all. The needs and vulnerabilities of faith communities are complex and unique to each organization. Canada’s faith organizations need protection for their staff and volunteers, for their property, and for those in their care. And with so many liabilities at play, these organizations shouldn’t have to look far or wide to access the comprehensive insurance coverage they need.

At South Western Insurance Group, we understand the needs of faith customers are highly unique to each organization. That is why we offer a specialized Ecclesiastical insurance product that empowers brokers to provide customized service that protects the insured on all fronts.

Understanding the Needs and Challenges of Canada’s Faith Customers

The face of faith in Canada is a multicoloured tapestry. Faith customers range from traditional religions to newer, growing religions. Each of these groups may occupy older buildings – such as mosques, cathedrals, synagogues, temples, or convents – or newer, modern buildings. Some faith customers may need to protect precious works of art, architecture, and property representing cultural heritage. Others need stronger protection for their members, especially those under the authority or care of staff and volunteers. Places of worship open their doors to faithful attendants and the public – not just for worship but also for programs such as day-care, summer camps, and educational programs. As such, they are vulnerable to various forms of loss and damage.

Here are the main types of risks for this sector:

● Vandalism

● Physical and sexual abuse and molestation

● Theft and burglary

● Protecting staff and volunteers

● Protecting property such as pipe organs, stained glass, art, sculpture, architecture, and relics

● Loss of income and collection due to business interruption

In addition, many older buildings are at risk for property damage due to wind, flood, rain, snow, and other weather events. Depending on their age, location, prior maintenance, and other factors, some buildings are more susceptible than others to environmental damage.

Brokers in This Market Must Cover A Broad and Complex Range of Needs

In partnership with a leading Canadian specialist insurer, SWG offers the most specialized coverage in the industry to serve the needs of faith organizations and communities. SWG’s product allows for flexible and customized coverage in an industry known for its specialized needs and risks. Our Ecclesiastical policy includes the following coverages:

● Included Loss of Income and Crime limits with the option to increase where needed

● Coverage for stained glass, pipe organs, and religious artefacts

● Abuse Policy provides coverage to volunteers, vulnerable people, children, and more (Claims- made or Occurrence Basis)

● Directors and Officers Liability

● Umbrella Liability

● Property coverage is available for “Manse”, if required

By providing a broad range of coverage, SWG hopes to empower brokers to provide the flexibility and customized protection that insureds in this industry need.

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.



  1. https://globalnews.ca/news/5272794/vandals-target-mission-church-with-satanic-graffiti/