A West Des Moines insurance company plans to offer special policies for church goers — a move that the Iowa Civil Liberties Union is questioning. GuideOne Insurance assistant vice president, Mark James, says the FaithGuard auto and homeowners polices are an outgrowth of their work insuring church buildings. He says their research showed that 79 percent of their regular insurance customers were churchgoers, and he said it was a natural extension to offer something to them. James says the FaithGuard policies include some special provisions — such as waiving the deductible on a claim if the person was traveling to church or a church activity when the accident happened. He says they’ll also protect a policyholder’s tithing up to a certain amount if they’re injured and suffer a loss of income. While the program is targeted at churchgoers, James says they won’t require a note from your pastor. He says, “We look to them to see if they’re the member of a church, a mosque, a temple, we look at all people of faith to qualify for this program.” He says they looked at their research to see who would be intrigued by such a program and found its probably someone who’s active in their church. James says they’re trusting those who say they go to church to be honest. He says, “We take their word for it. If they say they attend church regularly, that’s great, we’ll sign them up for the program.” The Iowa Civil Liberties Union is criticizing the proposal — saying it discriminates based on religious views. James says that’s not true.He says, “Absolutely not.” He says they’ve gone to all the insurance departments across the country and 18 of the 19 have approved it. He says if someone doesn’t go to church, they have standard policies they can offer them. Values and faith were talked about a lot during the last presidential election — and James was asked if the company is trying to ride that wave.He says, “You know that certainly doesn’t hurt us at all, but uh, we were in this business way before it became a political issue.” James says GuideOne wrote the first policy in the nation for a church in 1962 and now insures more than 45-thousand churches across the nation.
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