Two Challenges Facing Faith Organizations Over the Next Five to Ten Years

Aug 2021

Faith-based places anchor and shape communities. In addition to fulfilling their spiritual mission, they serve as prominent physical landmarks and symbols of collective heritage, and have been gathering places for generations.


As religious organizations pivot with changing times, or struggle to preserve their presence in their communities, the issue of insurance coverage arises inevitably. Their ability to respond to crisis let alone continue to serve depends on having thoughtful and affordable coverage that protects their people and property.


Faith organizations face two major challenges that will shape this market’s future over the next five to ten years. Understanding these challenges will shed light on the unique insurance support that religious organizations need to continue to thrive in uncertainty.


1. Forced Closures from Shrinking Congregations


Both small and rural towns as well as urban areas in Canada are facing a looming crisis with these important community assets. As Canadian society becomes more secular, it is estimated that over 9,000 places of faith will be forced to close within five to ten years. (1) This trend will be especially acute in rural areas, where an aging population base makes these facilities untenable.


Across the nation, places of faith still host voluntary or community-based groups, such as a blood donor clinic, a food bank, twelve-step programs or Scouts. Some community leaders are worried that when these local affordable “third spaces” disappear from communities, the social fabric of those communities will suffer. (1)


2. The Cost of Helping


For organizations serving the most vulnerable in their communities, insurance costs can be high at the best of times. Now with the country in a pandemic, many faith organizations have stepped up and opened their doors to provide additional relief in the community. Others simply cannot afford to.


Churches struggling with declining attendance, decreasing revenue, and increasing building expenses are already overwhelmed by these challenges, and aren’t equipped to lead the efforts needed to revitalize their buildings and the activities they host.


What this Means for Brokers


In order to be protected during a crisis, religious organizations must have the right insurance coverage. Many of these organizations lack access to affordable insurance rates for their unique market.


To help ease the financial burden on faith organizations, insurers are calling for thoughtful protection for those who could be wiped off the map should something go wrong. (2) Fire, theft, and vandalism are common threats to faith-based properties, which often house valuable historic art, sculpture, pipe organs, stained glass, architecture, and relics.


SWG Specialty – Faith Organizations Liability Insurance


SWG Property – Faith Organizations Liability insurance is designed to meet the unique requirements of faith communities and wants to help them avoid the sometimes-tragic consequences of underinsurance arising from outdated buildings, shrinking or growing congregations, and an expanded their role in the community. In addition, many organizations also run outreach programs or provide daycare/child care facilities on their premises that require careful insurance coverage.


Coverage Highlights

● Aside from providing coverage for your property, we can offer several extensions to include, Stained Glass Windows, Pipe Organs, Religious Artifacts, Headstones, Monuments, Tombstones, Crypts, Building By-Laws, as well as Loss of Income, Professional Fees, Day Care Operations under the Faith Organization, Additional

● Living Expenses for religious personnel residing in manse or rectory

● Crime Coverage for Employee Dishonesty, Credit Card Forgery, Computer Fraud and Funds Transfers

● Abuse Coverage to volunteers, vulnerable people, children, and more

● Directors and Officers, counselling services liability

● Umbrella Liability for higher limit requirements

● Comprehensive Equipment Break-down

● Cyber Liability

● 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

For more information about our policy, visit


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