1 August, 2006
Church Insurance Claims
There is a saying that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. With insurance however, you don’t really get to see the pudding, let alone eat it unless there is a claim to be made. We are therefore publishing some examples of claims dealt with by a specialist church insurer, Congregational & General.
If you would like us to help you with any aspect, please contact us via this link Church Insurance Enquiry
Beautiful Twelfth Century Church Destroyed
St Wandregesilius Church in Bixley, near Norwich was gutted by fire on 13 May 2004. The church, dating back to 1272, is named after St Wandregesilius, a 7th century French Abbot who was the Patron Saint of Flemis. Saint Wandregesilius is a remote, rural church situated at the end of a farm track. It had a small congregation who met at the church around four or five times a year.
The church didn’t have electricity and used gas cylinders for heating. It is believed that the fire was started by vandals in the church using one of these gas cylinders.
Eleven fire vehicles arrived to tackle the blaze, but unfortunately they were unable to prevent extensive damage taking place. The gas cylinders, located in the church, also intensified the damage by exploding in the vast heat.
Once the blaze was extinguished, it was established that everything inside had been destroyed, except for the brass set in the floor and the monuments.
Congregational & General Insurance plc was the insurer of this historic church and, once they had confirmation of the incident, they appointed their loss adjusters to assess the damage. Once reports were received, they quickly settled this claim and paid £500,000 to the trustees of Bixley church. The decision has been made not to rebuild the church due to its remoteness, but the money has been put back into churches in the Norwich area.
Historic Quaker Meeting House Fire
On 11 March 2005 a fire broke out in historic Jordans Meeting House in Buckinghamshire, and nearly destroyed its structure.
Jordans is one of the oldest and most historic Quaker Meeting Houses in the world. The building had retained its original roof tiles, window glass and benches as the Quakers had built it in 1688, after the Declaration of Indulgence by James II. The Meeting House is also the burial site of William Penn, founder and first governor of Pennsylvania, as well as Thomas Ellwood, the friend of John Milton, the poet, both famous Quakers.
The fire began in the caretakers flat and ripped through the building, destroying the roof, timbers and library. Fortunately, some areas of the Meeting House have remained intact, such as the 17th century gallery and lobby. Many of the historic artefacts such as the William Penn memorabilia have either survived or can be restored.
Congregational & General initially appointed Burgoynes Consulting Scientists to assess the damage. Once they had received their report, a “tin hat” cover was erected over the building to prevent any further damage occurring. Architects have been appointed and it is estimated that it will take around 18 months to fully complete the restoration of this Grade I listed building.
Update January 2007. A significant amount of the restoration work is now finished including the roof being completely replaced. The drying and restoration of the interior took longer than expected due to the discovery of asbestos in the flooring and the need to ensure that the timbers did not dry too quickly and warp.
This article was sourced from the Autumn 2005 issue of Church Life from Congregational & General Insurance plc.
It is always difficult to forsee or prevent your church being a victim of vandalism or arson, however Congregational tries to help by providing advice through their useful guide provided by the Arson Prevention Bureau.
If you wish to obtain a free copy of this church guide please leave a contact message on this link.
It is always best to take professional advice from an insurance broker than risking dealing with the insurance direct with an insurer who is only acting to protect their own interests and not yours!