All churches with employees -- which includes most of Holston's 904 churches -- are required to participate in a new workers' compensation policy that becomes effective in 2010.
A questionnaire and rate information for the policy will be postal-mailed to all pastors and trustee chairpersons by the end of September, according to John Tate, conference treasurer. The questionnaire should be completed and returned to Tate's office by Dec. 1.
"This is the first attempt to have a unified policy for all churches -- to make sure they have adequate workers' compensation coverage for all employees," Tate said.
The conference-wide policy will be administered through PACT (United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust), Tate said.
Members of the Holston Annual Conference voted to approve the Board of Trustees recommendation in June 2009 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The details were also addressed in district briefings prior to Annual Conference.
"By securing workers compensation for all of our pastors and the employees of our churches through one master policy, the high minimum premiums associated with individual policies on each church would be eliminated," said Gene Frazer, chair of the Board of Trustees, in his Annual Conference report.
"This program will become mandatory for all churches that have employees, at the next renewal period," according to Frazer.
The conference policy will go into effect for each church on Jan. 1, 2010, or at the renewal period for churches with existing policies, Tate said. Some churches and three districts have had prior coverage.
Cost for the policy will be billed to each church based upon their payroll figures and then separately billed, according to the recommendations approved at Annual Conference. (2009 Book of Reports, page 111)
"While it is never popular to mandate any specific coverage for every church, the Trustees believe that it is cost effective and prudent to provide coverage to each of the churches in this manner," according to the Board of Trustees.
"To facilitate collection, the Trustees will develop a collection program to insure that each church pays its requisite charges."
Pastors and trustee chairpersons should look for the postal mailing from the conference treasurer's office by late September or early October, or they may visit holston.org/finance for more information.
District workshops will be offered prior to Jan. 1 to assist churches with questions; look for the announcements from your district offices. For additional information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (865) 293-4125.