September 2012 - Bradford PA Insurance - Williams Insurance Agency

Sexual Misconduct Coverage for the Church

September 30, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, church insurance, church insurance bradford, church insurance bradford pa, sexual misconduct insurance

When the media coverage regarding churches seems to focus exclusively on sexual misconduct, a consensus emerges among the general audience that these events occur in just about every church, no matter where they are. The reality, however, is much different. While a pure violation of the trust that people have put into the church, sexual misconduct is still statistically a rare occurrence. However, where is has occurred and where this egregious behavior is proven, liability of the church founders and principles can bring it to financial ruin.

That’s why sexual misconduct insurance is a vital element of any religious organization’s underlying insurance principles. Some pastors and church leaders may worry about the stigma that could be associated with carrying this kind of insurance. If the congregation or even local residents discovered that the church was covered for sexual misconduct, they might immediately jump to conclusions and assume that there must be a reason why the church would even do that.

The gossip and rumors would spread. ‘What do the church organizers know that they’re not telling us?’ ‘Why would they worry about sexual misconduct unless they just don’t trust the people who work within the organization?’ And the questions pile up. These are certainly issues that any church leader will have to face during these trying times, but there is a simple response to them.

Insurance Covers the Organization against the Possibilities, Not Likelihood

Just as a homeowner may carry flood insurance while living in the dry climates, it doesn’t mean that they expect to have the Great Flood raging through their living room tomorrow. At the same time, should they skip that coverage altogether? The last time that a flood roiled through their neighborhood may have been more than one hundred years ago, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.

Although a church or religious organization is designed to give comfort to people and provide education and hope, there is simply no guarantee that everyone whom is hired within it will be pure of heart or intention. Just as there is no way to completely guarantee that bad things won’t happen to good people, insurance helps to protect the church against the possibility.

Protecting the Investment

While most religious organizations are able to file as non-profit with the IRS, that doesn’t mean that they operate any differently than a business. Any business operating today must protect itself and its assets from potential loss brought on by lawsuits. Any time that an organizations welcomes people onto its property, whether as clients, guests, or even friends, there is a risk that something could go wrong and if something happened, the possibility of liability exists.

It is about protecting the investment that the church founders made when they set out to establish their organization. Sexual misconduct, as mentioned, has been touted and reported in the news media for several years and has garnered a great deal of attention, to the point where some people are actively seeking out the possibility that something similar might be carrying on within the church that they belong to.

Sexual misconduct of any measure is a serious offense and should be considered one of the most egregious acts of misconduct that a church could be involved in, but that doesn’t mean that even choosing the best employees and screening them thoroughly that your organization will be immune to allegations or even the acts themselves. In fact, there are seemingly far too many people in society today who will latch onto a cause and claim that it happened to them, even if there is no foundation in truth, all in the search for easy money.

Make no mistake, however, that sexual misconduct has happened in many churches around the country and the act itself has devastated many lives and broken numerous families. It is not something that anyone should take lightly.

What Is Sexual Misconduct?

The first thought that most people will have when they hear sexual misconduct in a church setting is that of pastors and young children, most commonly boys. However, there are many different kinds of sexual misconduct that can occur on the church grounds. If you have male and female volunteers (they don’t even have to be paid employees for your church to be liable for their behavior), and if these volunteers are friendly and like each other, as with any workplace in the country, there is the possibility of aggressive behavior as well as misunderstandings.

There can also be the possibility of resentment and a desire to ‘get even’ with another person by making an allegation of sexual misconduct. While this is not about the guilt or innocence of particular individuals, anything and everything that transpires on the grounds or within the properties of a church organization is the full responsibility of the church founders and organizers themselves.

Liability Coverage as a Buffer

Church insurance coverage that includes sexual misconduct may seem, on the surface to some, as a way for insurance companies to charge more in light of the recent allegations and unfortunate incidents that have occurred in other churches around the world. However, it is entirely up to the church organizers whether they wish to add such coverage.

You may be comfortable knowing everyone who works within your organization. You may be absolutely positive that nothing of this behavior would ever occur within your hallowed halls, but there is a time and a place for being confident and have full faith in your congregation and all of the employees or volunteers whom you call as friends.

Sexual misconduct insurance is a vital component that churches need to consider in the modern society in which we live. Unfortunately, acts that warranted claims of misconduct have occurred. Unfortunately many people were hurt by them. And unfortunately, people are going to continue to make mistakes or attempt to take advantage of others. Where sexual misconduct is concerned, there is a time and a place to believe that your church is immune to it and a reality that you need to protect yourself against the possibility of allegations, real or imaginary, that could cost your church more than it can afford.

Specialized Insurance Coverage for Religious Schools

September 26, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, church insurance, church insurance bradford, church insurance bradford pa, religious school insurance, religious schools, sexual misconduct insurance

Insurance has been around for centuries and while some consider it a ‘necessary evil,’ others wonder whether they need certain coverage or whether they can skimp and try to save some money in the short term, while increasing their long term risk. For many years, religious schools, as with any organization, has needed to ensure that they are protected against legal liability and today there are numerous insurance companies that cater specifically to church insurance and religious schools.

When people think about churches and religious schools, they don’t often consider that they also need liability insurance coverage, as most private organizations do. The connotation that churches are above this requirement may lay within the ideology of doing good deeds or that its members, students, or congregations would protect the organization, but the real world, the legal world is a much different place than the one in which church members step into on Sunday.

Religious schools, for example, are fraught with the same legal challenges and liabilities as any other type of school and there are a number of different reasons why specialty coverage would be necessary for these organizations.

Any time that young individuals, students for example, are brought together for the purpose of education, adults with the right skills and desire to help them will come together to give them the best opportunity for a bright future and the best chances for success. And while the intention is to give the best to these students, it is absolutely essential to make sure that what you’ve built, or are building at the moment, will be able to sustain itself in the event of a legal action against it.

Mistakes Happen

In life, mistakes are a part of daily living, as the Bible has taught us through the years. What is important, and what we tend to teach our children, is that we need to learn from our mistakes in order for them to be worth having been made. However, in the real world, mistakes can be quite costly and devastating. While you may hire the best employees and teachers that you can find, you can’t control everything that they do, say, think, or feel. You also can’t control the way that students will always react to the things that are said or done to them.

Slander, wrongful termination, and sexual misconduct are just three of the possible legal liabilities that a private organization may find itself facing within the school environment. An employee may have had the best intentions but makes a bad choice and the only recourse that the school has is to terminate the employee. In turn, that employee may believe that the motivation behind his or her firing wasn’t performance based but rather a personal lifestyle choice or political viewpoint. In that case, he or she may take legal action against the school to seek compensation for the termination.

A student may interpret what a teacher says in class as being slanderous. That student may decide to repeat what was said to his or her parents, who in turn file a lawsuit against the school for slander. Misunderstandings have begun with far less and have cost far more in the grand scheme or instruction within schools, religious or otherwise.

And, of course, there is the potential for allegations of sexual misconduct within the school system. There are many different types of sexual misconduct that could be brought in action against the school. The most commonly thought of, at least by adults when thinking of this situation, is one in which a teacher made advances or committed lewd sexual acts with a student, whether consenting or against their will. However, there are many other reasons why legal action might be taken against a religious school when it comes to sexual misconduct.

Two students could be engaged in sexual misconduct, with or without the knowledge of any teachers or school officials, but if the parents discover this behavior and that is was taking place on school grounds, they may decide that the school is responsible, in their opinion, for not having intervened.

These are just a few examples of why a religious school would need specialized insurance coverage. These examples stray beyond the general scope of most insurance plans and being that they are specialized, it generally requires a specialized insurance provider to offer it.

For religious schools or other religious organizations, insurance is an important factor, especially in today’s environment. It’s important that the insurance provider with whom you carry insurance not only understands all of the specialized coverage that they offer, but also the unique expectations and challenges that the religious schools face on a regular basis.

What is the Cost of Specialized Coverage for Religious Schools?

As with most insurance plans, the cost of specialized coverage for religious schools will depend on a number of factors. First and foremost, it will depend on the number of students who are enrolled in the school, both part and full time. Second, the number of employees will factor in the cost as well. The more students and the more employees, from administrative to teacher, teaching assistants, and substitute teachers, will matter in the final analysis. Some insurance providers will also consider certain employment screening practices to be more efficient than others and therefore may offer different rates for their specialized insurance as a result.

When trying to determine what type of specialized insurance you’ll need for your religious school, you should discuss your options with a company that has worked with religious groups for years. It is these companies that understand the unique challenges that religious organizations face, especially in today’s modern age.

While it may be tempting to want to save a little money and avoid these specialized coverages in the short term, it’s important to remember that anything that you and others have invested in should be protected at all times. Specialized coverage isn’t about what might happen on some outside chance, but protecting against the potential for unique circumstances presenting themselves. Religious schools deserve to be protected with specialized insurance.

Can You Insure Someone Else’s Car In Pennsylvania?

September 15, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, car insurance, car insurance in bradford, car insurance in bradford pa, car insurance in pa, full tort, Pa Car Insurance, Pennsylvania Car Insurance, pennsylvania car insurance rate, Pennsylvania car insurance rates, uninsured motorists

Each state has its own laws and reservations about automobile usage.  Pennsylvania car insurance rates are some of the lowest in the nation due to the strict state requirements for automobile servicing in order to keep a car registration.  As such, it is possible to get affordable insurance, but not if you want to use it to cover someone else’s vehicle.  There are several types of insurance but they are only available for your own car.  You cannot insure another person’s car in Pennsylvania.


Just like any other state, car insurance in PA is mandatory.  There are no situations in which it is legal to operate a motor vehicle if the vehicle is not covered by some sort of insurance.  There are several different types of coverage options for a vehicle, however, and each are acceptable for legal purposes.  Different auto companies or insurance lawyers can suggest which type is best, but as long as you have a single type you are fit to drive anywhere in the state.  Liability coverage will protect your property in the event that you are in an auto accident and have any type of claim brought against you.  PA car insurance laws dictate that you must have a minimum of $15,000 of coverage.  This will not cover much in the case of a serious accident (such as the cost of a vehicle and medical bills) but is more than enough for a fender-bender or broken windshield.  This must be purchased for your auto.  It cannot be purchased by someone else to cover your car.


Full tort coverage is automatically included in Pennsylvania car insurance rates unless the individual declares they want to waive it.  This coverage allows any resident to put in a claim against a responsible party if they have been injured in an accident.  If they do not have this coverage, they cannot make any type of legal claim without serious medical injuries.  Limited tort insurance is available and will cost less, but is not recommended due to the lack of ability to protect a person after an accident.  This cannot be provided by a third party; the policy must be in your own name.


Uninsured motorist coverage is another type of insurance that can be waived if a person wants minimal coverage, but if it is waived it is not possible for a party to make a claim when they have been hit or injured by an uninsured party.  The severity of the injuries will not matter; you have to have this coverage if you want to bring a claim against an uninsured motorist.  It is not possible for someone else to insure an auto that they do not own for uninsured motorist coverage.


A final insurance policy is wage loss coverage, the damages from not being able to work as a result of an automobile accident.  This, like all other types of PA insurance, that cannot be covered by a third party.  A person must have individual coverage for their own wages and must put in their own claim for work-related losses

Can Insurance Companies Demand Information About People Who Live With You?

September 9, 2012 in auto insurance, bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, car insurance, car insurance in bradford, car insurance in bradford pa, car insurance rates, insurance company

Pennsylvania auto insurance just seems to be getting more and more complex. Like every other brand of insurance, it seems increasingly necessary to answer more and more questions about yourself and your lifestyle just to get any policy at all in your name. Apparently, your Pennsylvania car insurance rates are based on the answers to these questions.


In the barrage of questions that you may receive you may have noticed inquiries about the people with whom you live. Some people find this to be just one more st of questions and gladly answer them. Others are upset and suggest that these questions are another intrusion on their privacy.


At first glance, it may seem like it is none of your insurance company’s business who lives with you. However, you have to remember that they are not the government. The government has to follow a litany of privacy laws when thy engage you in questioning. Insurance companies are private entities with a vested interest in keeping your car safe that they do not have to pay out benefits.


The truth is that they can ask you anything they want. Since auto insurance companies are risking their own money by insuring your vehicle, they have the right to ask all sorts of questions. The recent increases in the number and variety of questions simply reflect their desire to engage in less and less risk when they determine Pennsylvania car insurance rates.


Just because they have the right to ask you questions does not mean that you have to answer them. This is why this seemingly intrusive behavior is permissible and legal. Anyone can ask anyone else any question legally. You are free to tell your auto insurance company that you do not want to answer that question.


Since these companies are private entities and not government bodies, however, they are completely within their rights if they decide to cancel your policy or refuse you a policy from the outset because you did not answer this question. It might help you to consider the question or questions from their perspective. Insurance companies know that accidents are more likely when insured drivers live in a house with drivers who have bad records. Even if you insist that no one else in the house will be driving and that you only want insurance for yourself, there is always the chance that you might let someone else drive your car.


They may also want to ask questions about other people in your home in order to get an idea of your character. Perhaps your record is clean but you live with people who have a less than honorable record and background. Again, this may seem rude and even illegal, but it is not against the law for someone else to ask you about your living arrangements. They are certainly not required to do business with you if they feel that they cannot trust you completely.


There are two ways to deal with this approach. You can simply agree to provide information because you want and need the insurance. However, you should know that your answers may affect your PA car insurance prices. You can also refuse to answer the question and await their decision. Most companies are going to be suspicious of someone who refuses to answer these questions and they may deny your insurance or cancel a policy if you already have one.


Your rights to privacy are important. Insurance companies, though, think that their bottom line is more important. If your company approaches you with these questions, be ready to either answer or accept the consequences of failing to answer

How Can You Get Car Insurance After Two DWIs?

September 2, 2012 in atv insurance, auto insurance, auto insurance bradford, auto insurance bradford pa, auto insurance premiums bradford, bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, car insurance, car insurance rates, driver training courses, driving under the influence, DWI conviction, higher premiums

Are you a driver wondering how driving under the influence will affect pa car insurance prices? Making the mistake of driving while under the influence one can cause the car insurance premiums to skyrocket – twice can put you at risk of being unable to get car insurance.


How can you get Pennsylvania auto insurance after making the mistake of getting two DWIs?


Pay Higher Premiums

There are some insurance companies that will offer insurance to the driver, even in the case that multiple DWIs have been reported. These insurance companies are willing to work with drivers that come with a higher risk because the premiums that are charged to them are higher. In some cases, the driver must pay upwards of five times the regular rate of insurance a driver with a clean record would pay, just to stay on the road.


Paying higher premiums can ensure that you are able to drive – but it’s not always affordable. For this reason, it’s important to compare the insurance companies that are offering coverage to drivers with a record of a DWI to find the lowest rate among the high risk insurance providers.


Shop Around for Car Insurance

Shopping around for car insurance rates is a good idea for customers that are looking for the best rates, but in cases where insurance providers are leery of providing insurance to a customer that has a bad track record. Not all insurance companies are going to be willing to provide insurance – and therefore research is going to be needed.


First, shop around for car insurance quotes by making phone calls to local and national auto insurance companies. Using the online free quotes that are available to drivers usually is not effective, as the DWI conviction is likely to affect the online algorithm, making it difficult to receive an instant quote.

Calling around and scheduling appointments with local insurance companies can be an effective way to find insurance coverage, even with the driving record.


Have the Conviction Overturned

Making the effort to hire a lawyer can be an effective way to get the conviction overturned or stricken from the record. Taking the time to prove the case and bargain with the courts can be an effective way to finally get auto insurance from local providers.


It’s important for clients to realise that having the conviction of driving under the influence removed from the record can be quite difficult. Clients must first find legal counsel that is willing to take on the case and pay upwards of several thousand dollars in legal fees to complete the proceedings. It’s not guaranteed that the record is going to be removed – and in the case that it isn’t the client is out the money that had been spent on the legal investigation and proceedings.


Go Through Driver Training Courses

Driver training courses aren’t just for new drivers. Taking the driver training courses can help to improve the skills on the road and is often a requirement for drivers that have been convicted of driving while under the influence. The driver training courses are available through local driving schools and insurance companies – which can also help to reduce the rates in the future.

It’s important to realise that the convictions of driving while under the influence are going to create a costly bill when it comes to paying the auto insurance premium. Two driving while under the influence charges can increase the insurance premiums up to three hundred percent.


Abstain from Alcohol

Once auto insurance coverage has been found, it’s important that the driver abstain from alcohol. In some areas, the driver can reduce the risk of the auto insurance (therefore reducing the cost of the premiums) by using a breathalyser in the car to determine the alcohol content and controlling the mechanisms of the car to shut-off; in the case that the breathalyser test has determined that alcohol is in the system.


Using these types of tools, you can find lower premiums and reduced rates (though they are going to be higher than regular rates) but doing so can ensure that you are still able to be on the road.


Pennsylvania auto insurance premiums are based on the safety of the driver and the percentage of the risk, statistically, that the driver is going to need to file a claim with the insurance – and the type of claim that is going to be filed. Drivers that have been found guilty of driving under the influence have a highly increased risk, and therefore will experience higher Pennsylvania car insurance rates.