Going - Are you Covered?

By Peter Blackaby

I grew up in Vancouver, where every weather forecast seemed to end with “and a chance of showers.”  In the summer, the forecaster may say, “It will be a beautiful sunny day today.  Gentle breezes and 25 degrees… with a chance of showers.”  I learned the hard way to carry an umbrella in my school backpack or in the trunk of my car, just in case I was caught by such an unfavourable circumstance. 

The same attitude should be true as your church sends volunteers and mission teams across the country or across an ocean.  Is the team adequately insured for unexpected occurrences? 

Mission trips can be significant life-changing experiences for team members, their churches, and the individuals with whom they are serving.  But there is always some level of risk any time an individual or group travels.

What happens if a team member serving somewhere else in Canada becomes ill and cannot travel?  What happens if your church has a team in another country and a natural disaster strikes?  What happens if a member of your church is volunteering in another country and a political coup happens? 

As remote as these possibilities may seem beforehand, the reality is that you do not know what may happen once the volunteer or team is on the ground... or even while they are driving down the street on their way to the airport.  For this reason, I would strongly recommend that your church consider getting special insurance for all individuals and teams sent on mission from your church.

One insurance company that I would recommend for this purpose is Gallagher Charitable International Insurance Services.  This company specializes in insurance for short-term volunteers and is used by agencies such as the International Mission Board. 

Gallagher’s international package includes not only medical travel insurance and emergency patient transport, but also allows for a loved one to travel on site should a patient require extended hospital care in country.  It also includes unique services such as emergency evacuation insurance in the event of a natural disaster, political unrest, or severe crime.  And this is all guaranteed from the time the team member steps foot outside their home until they return again for a cost of $3.30 USD per person per day for international trips (US & Canadian packages are also available).

I would also recommend that the entire team take out this insurance regardless of any additional coverages individuals may have, for several reasons.  First, should a tragic event occur, everyone will deal with the same insurance provider.  Second, Gallagher specializes in short-term volunteer insurance and offers some unique services that other agencies may not.  Third, this insurance includes liability for the team, the leaders, and sending agency (or church).

For more information about Gallagher Insurance, click here or call 1-800-922-8438.

We always hope that our volunteer teams will experience sunny skies, but there’s always a chance of showers.  Are you covered? 

Please note that this article summarizes the services of Gallagher Insurance for the purposes of introducing churches and volunteers to this resource.  Please read and understand the full terms and conditions at www.aaintl.com before purchasing any policy.