Connecticut Church Insurance: How to Manage Your Budget

Connecticut Church Insurance How to Manage Your BudgetConnecticut Church Insurance: How to Manage Your Budget

Finances can be a tricky subject in any church or nonprofit organization. However, without adequate funds, your church can’t continue to minister effectively. In a previous post we discussed some of the rules of financial management for churches, stating that the right financial management plan is key to your church’s success. Your first order of business when it comes to financial planning should be to purchase a Connecticut Church Insurance policy. The next step to managing your church finances is to create a budget and stick with it. So how do you go about this?

A church budget, according to FreeChurchAccounting.com, is a great tool for allocating financial resources and for planning and controlling their uses. The website offers the following seven tips for effective church budgeting.

  1. Establish a projected level of income. This can be determined by reviewing your church’s tithing history and examining if it’s increased in the last few years or declined.
  2. Determine expenditures for the budget year. The largest area of expenses is actually compensation to the church’s staff- both salaries and benefits. When determining your annual budget, it’s a good time to review compensation packages.
  3. Allocate funds for operations. This is typically the second largest area of expenses for a church; mortgage, utilities, maintenance, repairs, and your Connecticut church insurance policy.
  4. Determine variable costs. Check to see what the going rate is for your utilities to see if any costs have increased, so that you can either plan for that increase or make a change.
  5. Get everyone involved. Involve all ministries of the church. You may find that your church staff has some great fundraiser ideas.
  6. Build reserves. If you are able to, budget a bigger increase. This way, your expenses won’t be as high and predicted and you can set aside some or all of the unspent amount to being the process of building a reserve for your future budgeting efforts.
  7. Restrict funds. If a donor wishes for their funds to be used for a specific purchase, it’s vital to the integrity and legal responsibility of your church to follow these wishes.

At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management, we understand the extreme importance of a solid financial plan, and the role it plays in your overall Connecticut church insurance package. When you partner with us, our team of seasoned and talented professionals will gain a full understanding of your Financial Management philosophy, goals, and individual risk tolerance. Contact us today at (877) 602-2305 for more information.

CT Yacht Insurance: Preparing Your Boat for Spring

CT Yacht Insurance Preparing Your Boat for SpringCT Yacht Insurance: Preparing Your Boat for Spring

It’s been a long, harsh winter for many residents on the East Coast and the Midwest in 2014. With Spring finally here, many Connecticut residents can’t wait to get their yachts back out on the water so they can enjoy the warming temperatures. Are you ready to get your boat running yet though? It’s important to know how to property maintain your yacht, especially after it’s been stored away for winter. Of course, you’ll be financially protected from damage with the right CT Yacht Insurance policy, however surely you’d like to avoid damage or injury as much as possible!

One factor you’ll want to look into right away is making sure that your boat registration is up to date, including hull identification decals. Be sure to check and see that your current fishing license is up to date as well, and check that anyone who will be fishing on your boat has an updated license. The next thing you’ll want to check is to make sure you have the appropriate amount of safety gear. This includes ensuring that your life jackets still fit any children that will be on board.

With those two items out of the way, here are additional guidelines provided by DiscoverBoating.com to follow when preparing your yacht for its Spring launch.

Inspect the Fuel System and Check Belts, Cables, & Hoses

In addition to making sure that the engine, exhaust, and ventilation systems are all functioning properly, you’ll want to look for evidence of damages fuel hoses such as softness, brittleness or cracking.

Inspect the Electrical System and Fluid Levels

Inspect all electrical connections for cleanliness and tightness. Corrosion is often a sign that a connection might not be safe. Also, check your fluid levels. This will include engine owner, power steering, power trim reservoirs, and coolant.

Inspect Propellers & Hulls

If your propellers aren’t working correctly, they can cause unwanted vibration and damage to your drive train. Make sure the propeller is secured properly, and replace bearings when needed.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we understand how big of an investment your yacht is. Our specialists have years of experience with navigating through risks and policy features created to protect you and your yacht. We offer CT Yacht Insurance Coverage as part of our CT Private Client Group Insurance products. Please contact us today for more information at (877) 602-2305. 

Related: Connecticut Yacht Insurance: Theft Prevention

Massachusetts HR Legislation: Will Paid Sick Leave Become Mandatory?

Massachusetts HR Legislation Will Paid Sick Leave Become MandatoryMassachusetts HR Legislation: Will Paid Sick Leave Become Mandatory?

In January 2012, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to mandate a paid sick leave policy for service workers. The Paid Sick Leave Act requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide up to a maximum of forty hours, or five days, of paid sick leave to eligible service worker employees. A service worker can include food service managers, health care providers, librarians, and more. Connecticut is not the only state that has a law like this already in place, and now it appears as though Massachusetts HR Legislation may be affected by the law as well.

In addition to Massachusetts, Vermont and Chicago could be the next areas to enact employer-paid sick leave laws in 2014. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) highlights the need for this law, reporting in October 2013 that almost 40 million U.S. employees, or about 40% of the nation’s private-sector workforce, currently have no right to any paid sick leave. They say that as a result, these employees commonly go back to work sick or leave their sick children home along because they fear being fired for missing work.

The EPI states that even if employees are not terminated for missing work, the loss of income they sufer takes a dramatic toll. Gordon Lafter, associate professor of political science and labor studies and the University of Oregon in Eugene, estimates that a typical family of four with two working parents who have no paid sick leave will have wiped out its entire health care budget for the year after just three missed days of work.

Although many see the benefits of implementing a paid sick leave law, there are opponents within the Massachusetts HR Legislation sector. Critics contend that this law will hurt employers, especially those in labor-intensive industries that have low profit margins and numerous temporary, part-time and seasonal workers. Critics also say that this law will have a huge impact on small employers, because large employers often already provide some sort of paid sick leave policy.

One concern that is shared by employers and employees is that there will be less hiring happening due to the law. In a report released in February 2013 titled “Paid Sick Leave in Connecticut: A Pilot Study of Businesses’ Responses to the Law”, it was stated that employers may also offer fewer raises, scale back on overtime, raise prices, and increase the cost of other benefits such as health insurance.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we understand that the HR landscape has changes significantly over the last several years. We can serve as your resource for Massachusetts HR Legislation Updates in addition to legislative updates throughout Connecticut and Florida, as part of our Massachusetts Human Resources Consulting Services. Please contact us for more information at (877) 602-2305.

Boston HR Consulting: Asking the Right Interview Questions

Boston HR Consulting: Asking the Right Interview QuestionsBoston HR Consulting: Asking the Right Interview Questions

As a business owner, it’s important to know that federal and state laws prohibit prospective employers from asking certain questions that are not related to the job they are hiring for. Questions must always be job related and not used to find out personal information. This is one HR issue that is an important component of your company’s Risk Management profile, which is why it’s beneficial for you to invest in Massachusetts HR Consulting. In the meantime, here are some methods on just how to ask candidates the right interview questions.

Know which questions are out of line.

Illegal interview questions include anything inquiring about the candidate’s race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, or sexual preference.

Connect on a neutral topic.

For example, ask them about a general current event (I.E. Did you watch the basketball game last night?). This helps nervous applicants calm down, and builds a sense of trust. Ice breakers such as this can be a great way to learn more about the applicant, their interests, knowledge, and skills.

Ask them about a time when they had to overcome a major obstacle.

Whether their example is work-related or not, listening to how the candidate handles challenges is a good way to sense if they see themselves as a confident problem solver or a victim of extenuating circumstances.

Find out why they are interested in the position.

Too often, especially in today’s economy, people apply for jobs simply because they need a job. While this may be okay if you are hiring part-time or entry-level, if you need someone with experience you will also want them to have passion for the job.

These are just a few of the methods you can use to interview candidates. At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, our staff has the ability to become an integral part of your organization, understanding your products and services, your culture, and your processes. This helps us to provide you with comprehensive Massachusetts HR Consulting Services. Please contact us to learn more at (877) 602-2305. 

The Basics of Church Insurance Part 2: Rules of Financial Management

The Basics of Church Insurance Part 2 Rules of Financial ManagementThe Basics of Church Insurance Part 2: Rules of Financial Management

When it comes to running a business or organization of any kind, the right financial management plan is key to your success. This is especially true when it comes to a non-profit organization such as a church. As we discussed in part 1 of this blog post, churches have become increasingly susceptible to lawsuits and legal issues in recent years.

When it comes to defending your church against a claim, it does not matter if allegations are true or not. While purchasing the right church insurance policy is the only way to 100% financially protect your establishment, having finances in order to begin with can help decrease your chances of a financial incident adversely affecting you.

If you are the pastor of your church, it’s your responsibility to see that the finances are handles in a professional manner, and protect the financial foundation of your church. So what can you do to simplify your financial management strategy?

First, it’s important to establish a budget and stick with it. As with a personal or family budget, a church budget is valuable only if it is followed. There must be a general consensus and willingness on the part of the church leaders and congregation to live with the budget that has been set forth. It’s important to set up a system of accountability for spending decisions within your budget and regularly evaluate your financial picture.

Second, you should always communicate about church finances. It’s important to keep the congregation informed of the church’s financial situation. This can be done through weekly financial updates in your church’s worship folders, business meetings, prayer meeting announcements, or even congregational letters that are sent to your church member’s homes.

One last, but very important, step you can take in managing your church’s finances is to demonstrate accountability. Integrity in the area of finances is absolutely crucial. The congregation will stop giving to a church of there is a lack of trust about how the finances are handles. A couple ways to mitigate financial loss in the church is by implementing a policy that no usher should deliver an offering to the church safe without another unrelated person present, and by never leaving money unattended or in control of only one person.

At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management, we understand the extreme importance of a solid financial plan, and the role it plays in your overall church insurance package. When you partner with us, our team of seasoned and talented professionals will gain a full understanding of your Financial Management philosophy, goals, and individual risk tolerance. We’ll also get inside your business operation to identify exposures to loss that threaten your business. Contact us today at (877) 602-2305 for more information.

The Basics of Church Insurance Part 1: The Role of Risk Management

The Basics of Church Insurance Part 1 The Role of Risk ManagementThe Basics of Church Insurance Part 1: The Role of Risk Management

Churches have become progressively susceptible to lawsuits and claims. Whether the allegations are true or not is irrelevant when it comes to defending your church against a claim. Legal fees, defense costs, and payment for damages are enough to financially ruin any business, let alone a non-profit organization such as your church.

In addition to financially protecting your establishment with the right type of church insurance policy, it’s important to have a risk management strategy in place as well. Church leaders are encouraged to recognize that risk management is an inherent part of organizational oversight and leadership. The problem tends to be that church leaders often don’t know what proper risk management looks like, nor do they know whose responsibility it is.

An effective church insurance risk management plan is one that addresses risk in all aspects of the churches activities. Risk management plans should be proactive rather than reactive, identifying risks before they become liabilities. The church board may wish to establish a standing risk management committee to oversee the risk management strategies of the church, and to provide reports and recommendations to the full board.

It’s important to remember that reducing risk by implementing preventive measures is different from obtaining church insurance. Risk management is only a part of an overall church insurance program. With this in mind, it’s important that your church board ensures that your organization maintains adequate insurance coverage with respect to applicable risk areas.

Some key risks that warrant attention in the church environment include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Corporate structure
  • Governing documents
  • Policy manuals
  • Tax-exempt status and compliance
  • Financial condition and financial controls
  • Adequacy of insurance coverage
  • Human Resources
  • Child Molestation
  • Key operational areas
  • Public relations
  • Physical health and safety

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we offer the Risk Safeguard Advantage, which is a system born out of a philosophy that combines uncommon risk analysis and strategic risk management with Human Resources Consulting and training to provide measurable, sustainable results. Please contact us today at (877) 602-2305 to learn more about how our risk management strategies will fit into your church insurance program.