Sheltering those who provide shelter

We understand that rescue missions are exposed to unique risks…
…such as those stemming from homeless residences, feeding programs, work programs, educational tutoring, and the dispensing of medications, to name a few.

Are you properly covered?
Does your current program provide coverage for your volunteers as though they were employees? What if a resident is hurt while doing work at the mission? Are volunteer drivers protected when they use their cars for mission purposes? What about your board members, are they covered for their decisions?

The Merriam Agency has been in business for over 100 years and can give you the solutions to these and many other issues unique to rescue missions and homeless shelters. Our purpose is far greater than just providing risk management and insurance services. We use our skills and resources to support those who assist the disadvantaged, disenfranchised and the destitute. Contact us for a free, no obligation quote today.

Recent Articles

  • The Conflict between Replacement Value and Actual Cash Value


    There are few greater joys for a mission Executive Director than receiving a letter from an attorney and finding that the mission is not being sued, but is instead, the recipient of a bequest. After many years of effort to raise money for a new dormitory, some person has now passed and willed a 30,000 square foot building that can reduce the fund-raising needs by a few million dollars! Praise God for His grace toward the mission’s ministry! Now comes the surprise: upon calling the insurance agent you are told that this building that cost the mission nothing, must now be insured for $6,000,000, the calculated replacement value. The conflict involving valuation is a complicated one. What a building is worth to someone is a function of utility. To the realtor, it is worth what an incentivized owner is willing to let it go for to an incentivized buyer; this is known as “market value.” To the Taxman, it is worth what the assessor’s office says it is worth, typically a percentage of predictive market value; this is known as “assessed value.” To the contractor, it is worth what it would cost to rebuild it with new components built by builders at prevailing wages; this is known as “replacement value.” To the person who recognizes its depreciated value and has no intentions to replace it should it be destroyed, there is the “actual cash value” defined as replacement value less depreciation. Lastly, there is the value that a building has […]

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  • Merriam Insurance Safety Committee Essentials


    How to Properly Established Your Safety Committee Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Committee is one way management can encourage employees to participate in implementing and monitoring an organization’s safety program. A properly functioning safety committee fulfills several functions. Committee members should be able to identify problems, use their range of insights to seek solutions, and have the authority and expertise to implement essential policies and procedures. Here are some tips to ensure successful implementation. Step One: Select a Committee For most missions, a safety committee of 3–6 individuals, plus an additional person to take notes, is ideal. If your committee is smaller than this, you may suffer from not having sufficient diverse perspectives. If your committee is larger than this, there may be too much discussion and not enough action. Your safety committee needs a champion. This person does not necessarily need to be the chair of the committee, but should be someone who cares deeply about safety and doing things the right way. We recommend your committee include: Both men and women Line staff—people who know what procedure is being followed, and how it is being followed, which is not always the way it is written down An individual who reports directly to the CEO, or other senior leadership, to share perspective on what the committee is trying to accomplish. This person will also update the CEO/senior leadership on the actions of the committee Step Two: Schedule Regular Meetings Your committee must meet regularly to be effective. We recommend monthly meetings, […]

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  • Merriam Insurance Guide to Active Shooter Preparedness


    The following is an overview of how we counsel missions in the development of an active shooter protocol. This guide is designed to help you utilize resources in your community to craft a response plan that fits your ministry. Through this guide you will learn how to: Educate key staff on protocols the experts recommend. Draw on the knowledge and experience of local law enforcement and other first responders. Develop and implement a crisis response plan. Develop training appropriate for all employees and complete drills at least twice annually. Step 1: Research Your Active Shooter Plan You will need to select a point person within your organization to organize meetings with local law enforcement and first responders. This point person should be the chairperson of the committee that develops your crisis plan. You will need someone who writes well to take notes and organize the group’s conclusions. As the plan is being developed, you want input from both male and female staff. We encourage you to have a group of 2–4 people who meet with first responders and develop the first draft of the crisis response plan. We also recommend you request that the mission leadership team participate in some or all of these meetings with first responders. Ask the local police/first responders to walk your campus with you and point out potential issues they see. Note these carefully. These can include unmonitored means of egress, glass windows that could be shot out and walked through, or areas of staff […]

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  • The Threat of Workplace Violence


    Have you considered the threat of workplace violence? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are close to 2 million victims of workplace violence in America, annually. This includes any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, even murder. In fact, homicide is the third leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States/ In the year 2000, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 674 workplace homicides accounting for 11% of the total 5,915 fatal work injuries. Recognizing that such threats exist, and knowing that victims of workplace violence not only cost the employer lost workdays but also damage the employer’s reputation, it becomes especially important that steps be taken to protect your staff. There are preventative steps which can be taken to help mitigate violence as well as deal with the aftermath of workplace violence. To begin with, there should be a zero-tolerance policy towards workplace violence. Next, policies and procedures should be put into place which include training employees to identify behaviors that may be an indication of future violence. Ensure that all workers know the policies and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and promptly remedied. OSHA has published recommendations for workplace violence prevention programs that are available at Maintain a shared data repository of what incidents have been observed. What employees see of their fellow worker’s behavior may allow for management to better understand conditions and situations that […]

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  • Wage and Hour Threat


    One of the advantages of being a national insurance consultant and risk manager is that it allows us to see legal trends that are growing before our clients are hit with the latest threat, and thereby, we often have time to build a defense before the storms hit. One such trend that we are seeing is the rise in employment-related suits, specifically “wage and hour” claims. This is an area where few insurance policies provide automatic coverage, and most simply exclude the coverage altogether. The challenges are further exacerbated by law firms which specialize in prosecuting these types of claims—and reportedly, they are adept at cultivating relationships with your former employees who may be easily agitated into believing they have been aggrieved. In this article on this growing trend, seemingly begun in California and quickly moving east, we will look at the cause of such and offer some tactics to help avoid wage and hour claims against your organization. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was enacted in 1938 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division. Its purpose is to: Set a minimum wage below which an employee’s pay cannot fall. Encourage full employment by establishing a maximum number of hours employees can work before an employer must pay overtime additional wages. Require equal pay for equal work, regardless of age, gender, race and other federally-protected personal attributes. Safeguard child workers. Some classes of employees are exempt from both minimum wage and overtime pay. These […]

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  • Workers’ Compensation vs. Disability Income


    Few people think about Workers’ Compensation (“WC”) insurance until it is needed. It is compulsory coverage required of most every employer for the benefit of most every employee. It is a trade-off that requires employers to provide unlimited work-related medical benefits to employees who are injured at work in exchange for eliminating liability to the employer from the employee’s allegation of negligence for the work-related injury or illness. WC provides three primary benefits: medical coverage, rehabilitation services, and loss of wages. Typically, the health and rehabilitation benefit are without limits with the goal to help put the injured/ill employee back to work as quickly as possible. However, the work wage loss is typically limited to a percentage of the gross wages, such as 2/3. Additionally, there is a cap on how much is ultimately to be paid, from a low of $478/week (Mississippi) to a high of $1,688/week (Iowa). Thirty-five states have a maximum of less than $1,000/week. The only employee who is usually allowed to be removed from the WC mandate is the President or Executive Director of an organization. Since this person may be compensated at a high wage, it is common that the amount of work wage benefit provided under WC may prove to be woefully inadequate. If they are covered under a major medical plan, they really do not need 2 out of the 3 benefits that WC coverage provides. Therefore, it is likely a much better value for the President or Executive Director to obtain […]

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