What Your Organisation Needs To Know
During these unprecedented times, we want to reassure you that our main priority is to keep providing you with the very best insurance and protection, commercial lending, investment management and risk advisory services and at the same service level that you expect.
We understand that many of you are facing challenging and uncertain times ahead but we can stand firm in the knowledge that at some point, the virus will be contained and the Australian economy will recover.
ACS Client Support
During this extremely challenging time its business as usual with our team at ACS. Our office is closed but all of our staff are now working remotely. Discuss with us any concerns you have and any support we might be able to provide if needed via phone and email.
- Latest Updates
- Our approach to COVID-19
- What your church or ministry needs to know
- Public Liability, Property Protection and Travel Insurance
- Premium funding
- Bank lending assistance
- ACCumulator loans
- ACCumulator Investment rates
- Government support available to Churches
- What you can do as a church during these very challenging times
Latest Updates (4 June 2020)
The Australian Government has announced recommendations that church services will shortly be able to re-start again. It remains the domain of State and Territory governments to legislate these recommendations and we encourage you to keep current with the latest state restrictions.
We've also provided a general Returning To Church Plan which can be found as downloadable resources below. It is critical that you stay informed where you are in relation to the stage in the
Pandemic Life-Cycle, and apply the principles as appropriate.
About This Plan
This plan is designed to give practical guidance to churches to enable them to successfully comply with government standards for church based services. It should be noted that the Government requirement is a COVIDSafe Plan on every premises.
This is because every premises has its own particular issues to deal with.
As we are living in a fast moving, constantly changing environment, we are encouraging your church leadership team to meet frequently to continue to monitor their arrangements in line with state government requirements.
Click the below links to download
Our Approach To COVID-19
As a key provider of risk management advice to Churches, Ministries and Christian Schools throughout Australia, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our clients, staff and their families. As such, ACS Financial is taking measures to mitigate the risk and further spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
In the interim, ACS Financial will be restricting all non-essential business travel and will suspend participation in any events or face to face client meetings.
These measures have been implemented to support the health and wellbeing of our people, our clients and our partners in the current environment.
We want to reassure you that even though while working remotely, we are always committed to maintaining our high-quality client service levels (including confidentiality). We are enacting our business continuity plan and seek to minimise disruption to our services. We will remain accessible via email and phone.
We thank you for your understanding and patience at this time as we continue to serve your organisations through this challenging period.
What Your Church or Ministry Needs To Know
Whilst Australia has been relatively protected from the rampant spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the situation continues to rapidly change, with new and stringent measures implemented by our Federal and State Governments as well as our National Health Authorities.
With recent directives that non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are now banned in Australia (and a more recent update to limit this now to 2 people), many workplaces adopting work from home policies, and increasing pressure on our essential services and health care professionals, it is important that we all do our part to curb the spread of this virus.
As expected, these circumstances have generated an unprecedented number of enquiries from our clients on how this situation impacts their church or ministry and whether their Insurance and Protections provide any cover in relation to the pandemic.
ACS Financial advocate that all clients follow the guidelines and recommendations of the Federal Government and the Chief Medical Officer.
Public Liability, Property Protection and Travel Insurance
Despite the chaos in the global insurance markets with significant rate increases and cover and capacity being withdrawn across our nation, we have now secured competitive terms for Insurance and Protection with little change to cover and premium rates.
This is achieved via ACS Mutual with its innovative global reinsurance structures and reach. It is critically important that you remain fully protected and don’t compromise on this, and we are doing everything we can, literally on a global level to enable you to do this.
Premium funding is a short-term loan that enables you to pay your premiums in 10 monthly instalments.
This may assist your organisation managing cash flow.
This is a facility we are able to make available to our clients and would welcome your enquiry if you believe that this will assist you through the coming months.
Bank Lending Assistance
Lenders have provisions in place to help clients during this time, with mainly six-month loan repayment holidays being offered.
Please be aware that this is not a loan reduction but rather delayed repayments where your interest is capitalised on the loan amount, so you will be paying interest on interest.
Take up these offers if you urgently require it for cash flow, but only if necessary.
We have long-standing relationships with the major banks who have informed us that relevant loans will also receive a 0.25% reduction and a further 0.25-1% in early April.
We are working with all our lending clients in working through any issues with the banks.
We would encourage you to contact our Lending Department as ACS Financial to discuss your options in this area.
For our own lending clients from our own ACCumulator funds, we are working individually with each client, and are already supporting them in individualised ways that meet each specific need as it arises.
Accumulator Investment Rates
We are increasing our rates for term investments this week to support our investors even further to continue to invest in our ACCumulator product, which resources the work of our churches.
ACCumulator is in a strong position to continue to support our clients during these times, as it did during the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis.
Government Support Available to Churches
For organisations with a turnover of less than $50 million, including churches, schools and charities, the Federal Government is offering a range of financial support mechanisms.
As they are primarily delivered via payroll tax and PAYG withholdings, churches are not as greatly assisted as for-profit business, however, there is still support available.
Eligible small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits, including charities, that employ people can access up to $100,000, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
The federal government have recently announced its intention to pass additional legislation to introduce the "Job Keepers allowance” which is intended to provide wage subsidies to businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19. If legislation is enacted, support will be directed to employers to pass on to employees.
This will provide significant support to our clients with the government paying $1,500 per fortnight per employee to employer organisations. This includes full time, part time staff (and casuals who have been employed for at least 12 months).
This will be paid to employers to enable them to continue to pay and retain staff.
Organisation income needs to have decreased by at least 30% to qualify, compared to same month last year.
Payments will be backdated to 1 March for employees employed at that time.
Our clients can register at the ato.gov.au website which will keep you updated and notify you once legislation is passed and application and associated procedures are finalised.
Please seek your own advice regarding what is available for you specifically, and refer to the various federal, state and local government websites available to assist you:
New South Wales: www.revenue.nsw.gov.au
Australian Capital Territory: www.revenue.act.gov.au
South Australia: www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au
What You Can Do As A Church During These Very Challenging Times
One of the challenges currently faced by all of us is the uncertainty around how long the impacts of the COVID-19 virus will last, how long this will impact our programs and the economic effects it will have on our organisations and businesses. The government is doing everything possible to support employment both during the crisis and beyond.
Just a few things we recommend you can do as a church/ministry/school:
- Remain focused on your mission. During these times, the church can shine, the saving and healing message of the gospel doesn’t change, and the needs of people within your church and community are even greater
- Stay strongly connected between your ministry teams, staff, boards and members. Communication during these times is critical and unlike ten years ago, technology today is well set up for remote and online communications in various ways. We are seeing great innovation amongst our clients during this time to stay regularly connected and also delivering Sunday services online.
- The economic impacts of this crisis are both widespread and also sector-specific. Some industry and employment sectors are decimated whilst others are thriving. This will be the same within your own organisation, and particularly amongst your givers and donors. Organisations that are in close and strong relationships with their members and givers can quickly ascertain impacts to your own members and also income.
- Your unaffected givers may well be able to give more during these times, to compensate for those that can't, particularly if they are engaged and can see the ministry of organisation continuing and even rising during these times. Your organisation may be less affected than other organisations and you may well be able to help them over the coming weeks and months. Churches have a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the strength of community, care and generosity during these times.
- Review your budgets, both income and expenditure and start to prepare now to strengthen them now for both income and costs. Work with your boards closely. Cash is king during these times and it's important that churches prepare weekly cash flows. Many cost items are more discretionary than others and can be temporarily delayed. Talk early with your key suppliers, landlords, and financiers and maintain strong ongoing communication so that you can tap into any support that they can provide you. The atmosphere in our country to help each other out right now is very high and encouraging.
- Your people are your main assets. The organisations that recover quicker and thrive even more strongly after these major crisis events are the ones that have done all they can to retain their good people. They are the ones that will help you get through these times, maintain focus and ministry, and recover afterwards. Do everything to keep good people on your team. They will be invaluable during these times and will be much harder to replace later. Even seek opportunities for members to step up and sponsor key staff during this next period.
- Look for increased volunteer participation, even remotely, if there are additional actions or ministry activities you need or want to deliver.. You may be surprised by the capacity and willingness of your members to do this in times like this.
- In these times, tremendous innovation can be birthed. This is the way we have been created, so look to try and nurture and capture all of this. Out of this challenging time we will undoubtedly see new ministries birthed and new ways of doing things for a long time to come. This may reshape how you operate as an organisation going forward.
- Pray. Pray for our world, our leaders, your community, your church, ministry or school. Our God is sovereign and loving and desires to reveal himself and his nature to us and people that don’t know him during these times. He desires to bring healing to our nation, our communities, your organisation and its people. In uncertain and often fearful times, he brings certainty, hope, love and healing.
As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation evolves, we are also ensuring the safety, health and welfare of our team, our clients and all others with whom we interact, by following official Australian Government advice.
A vast array of information is available about COVID-19, we encourage you to continue to review the Australian Government Health Department website for the latest and most accurate information. https://www.health.gov.au/
We continue to serve you professionally and with integrity, in His name.
Chief Executive Officer
And the whole team at ACS Financial.
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"It's only in the midst of a crisis that you understand the value of an insurance broker who understands your unique needs. Cyclone Debbie hit our village and our church and caused flooding of over 4 meters devastating most of the village, including our church, contents and equipment. We're with ACS and when crisis hit they understood our unique needs, looked after us and were able to help us get back on track so that we could go and help the community. "
PASTOR ROB STUTTLE
Living Waters Church
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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website reflect some of the commercial aspects and potential risks/obligations for your Church, School or Organisation. The information is given as a guide only and does not represent a definitive list or legal view in any way shape or form. You are advised to seek your own professional advice on all your individual needs.
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