Insurance series devised to benefit black churches USF&G unit teams up with H&R Consulting

February 28, 1997|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore insurer and a consulting firm that advises black churches have teamed up to offer a new series of life insurance policies -- with biblical names and features including a tithing of death benefits -- designed to help black churches raise money and reach an "underserved market."

The "Faithful Steward Series" of policies was announced yesterday by Fidelity and Guaranty Life Insurance, part of USF&G Corp., and H&R Consulting of Baltimore, which provides accounting, financial advice and other consulting services for black churches.

Gary Burke, vice president of F&G Life, said, "We've lined up about 30 African-American insurance professionals to market the policies to churches," starting in the Baltimore area and moving into other markets.

Montel Hill, president of H&R Consulting and a newly launched sibling, H&R Financial Services, said that, in addition to selling policies, his group would be offering financial seminars to churches and church members at no cost.

If a church can get just 10 members to buy $100,000 "Steward's Legacy" policies with the church as beneficiary, the church will wind up with a million-dollar endowment, Hill said. Other church members, he continued, can buy policies at competitive prices in which their families would be the primary beneficiaries, but the church would get 10 percent of the death benefit.

Policies with biblical-theme names range from the Exodus Policy for underinsured younger families (designed, Hill said, to help them "come out of financial bondage") to the Tabernacle Policy, which, according to a press release, "offers key-person term life insurance that insures the life of a pastor. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the church would have the ability to financially weather the storm until a new spiritual leader can be found."

The Rev. Franklin Peterson, senior pastor of Faith United Baptist Church, said yesterday that his church, which used H&R Consulting to help arrange financing for its newly purchased building at 2840 The Alameda, was interested in policies that would allow it to provide benefits to office and janitorial employees.

Burke said many insurance firms target the wealthy, and he felt middle-class black church members were "an underserved market." The goal, he said, is to create a billion dollars in church endowments within three to five years.

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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