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UCCtruths

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Insurance company rejects UCC church

Friday, September 14, 2007

UC News is reporting that Brotherhood Mutual of Ft. Wayne Indiana has refused to quote a local UCC church for insurance because of risk of property damage and litigation due to the UCC's support of gay marriage. Marci J. Fretz of Brotherhood Mutual stated in a letter to West Adrian United Church of Christ that "controversial stances such as those indicated in your application responses have resulted in property damage and the potential for increased litigation among churches that have chosen to publicly endorse these positions".

To an extent, I can understand why an insurance company would want to limit it's exposure to companies or organizations that have a history of claims against it - but this doesn't appear to be the reason for the rejection of West Adrian UCC. The logic that a stated position by a separate, national body would automatically disqualify a local church from insurance coverage because the stand is controversial is absurd. In my opinion, this eclipses the debate over gay marriage and, regardless of your stance on it, this is a really, really stupid policy.

UPDATE:

Here's the email I just sent to Brotherhood Mutual President and Treasurer, Mark A. Robison:
Mr. Robison:

I am emailing you to express my alarm that Brotherhood Mutual denied a local United Church of Christ church, West Adrian UCC, a quote for a policy because of risk of property damage and litigation due to the UCC's support of gay marriage.

As a frequent critic of the UCC (and specifically of the UCC's own Insurance Board under previous management) I am puzzled by the logic applied by Brotherhood Mutual's regional underwriter, Marci J. Fretz, when she stated that "controversial stances such as those indicated in your [West Adrian UCC's] application responses have resulted in property damage and the potential for increased litigation among churches that have chosen to publicly endorse these positions". Under this logic, every UCC, although autonomous to the national body, would be denied the opportunity to receive a quote for coverage from Brotherhood Mutual without any consideration for real risk and exposure.

I can sincerely appreciate the need for Brotherhood Mutual to limit it's exposure and liability where a reasonable and logical risk exists. However, the logic that a stated position by a separate, national body would automatically disqualify a local church from insurance coverage because the stand is controversial is absurd. Would the same standard apply to historically black churches that are frequent victims of property damage due to prejudice and hate crimes?

The decision by Brotherhood Mutual appears, from Ms. Fretz's letter, to be arbitrary and not dependent on an actual risk profile for UCC churches. I hope as President of Brotherhood Mutual, you will examine the process and logic that led to your company's decision to not provide a quote for West Adrian UCC.

Regards,


James Hutchins
Moderator, UCCtruths.com
jhutchins_ucc@yahoo.com

A copy of Ms. Fretz's letter is located here: http://www.ucc.org/news/pdf/brotherhood-ltr-2.pdf
posted by UCCtruths, Friday, September 14, 2007

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