Safety top-of-mind as America returns to worship

Safety top-of-mind as America returns to worship Safety top-of-mind as America returns to worship

July 20, 20213 min read

Church Mutual study finds physical violence and natural disasters top worshippers’

non-COVID safety concerns

MERRILL, Wis. – As America’s pandemic recovery efforts progress and more organizations open their doors, safety remains paramount for houses of worship and their members. According to data from Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1, worshippers’ top safety concern beyond COVID-19 exposure (63%), is the threat of armed intruders/physical violence (17%). This is followed closely by natural disasters/acts of nature (16%), cybersecurity/data breach (14%) and sexual misconduct (9%).

These findings are the latest from Church Mutual’s March 2021 “COVID, Safety and Security Study2,” which surveyed approximately 1,200 Americans. Encouragingly, these concerns have compelled many houses of worship to create safety plans. Of those surveyed, 59% said their house of worship has a plan in place to address COVID-19 exposure. Nineteen percent indicated a similar plan for armed intruders. This was followed closely by 18% of houses of worship having a plan for natural disasters, 13% for cybersecurity and 10% for sexual misconduct.

“Given the last 18 months, it’s not surprising that COVID-19 is the top safety concern for most American worshippers,” said Rich Poirier, president and CEO of Church Mutual. “However, as vaccinations expand and recovery continues, it’s critical that houses of worship prepare for other challenges that may impact their members’ safety. Based on our research, we’re encouraged to see this is happening to some extent. We believe there still is room for improvement.”

In 2020, pre-pandemic, Church Mutual found that armed intruders/physical violence (51%) topped worshippers’ list of safety concerns, followed by sexual misconduct (18%), natural disasters/acts of nature (17%) and cybersecurity/data breach (14%). At that time, 42% had plans in place to address one or more of its members’ safety concerns.

“Our nation is on the cusp of a return to normalcy and a renewed era in worship that’s strengthening relationships with faith,” Poirier said. “People are connecting with what’s important to them and it’s critical they can do so in an environment that’s safe and secure.”

About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.1, founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:

• A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
• Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
• Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019
• 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient
• 2020 Women and Diversity Award recipient from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association
• Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System
• Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
• Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
• 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College

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1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.

2Church Mutual Insurance Company conducted an online survey through SMS Research Advisors, The Church Mutual 2021 COVID, Safety & Security Study, in March 2021 with a nationally representative sample of 1,206 adults aged 18-87.

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