Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Before you read this post, what do you think Ecclesiastical Insurance insures against? (It turns out to have more to do with hot lead than with lost souls...)

The Church of England is under attack, and not just from the usual schismatics. Here's the story: Church of England fights fiddlers on the roof

"THE Church of England is using nanotechnology – the science of very small things – to fight thieves who strip lead and other valuable metals from the roofs of its ancient buildings.
More than 30,000 of Britain’s 44,000 churches have had their roofs coated in a layer of “nanopaint”, which is visible only under ultraviolet light.
Each church has a different blend of microscopic particles, giving its metal a unique “label”. This enables police to identify church lead found in any haul of suspect scrap, even if it has been melted down."
"Recently, church authorities scored a victory in the battle against thieves with the conviction of three men for stealing lead from the roof of St Leonard’s church in Colchester, Essex.
They were caught after police identified the lead stolen from the church on sale at a scrapyard by using the new labelling system."
"The number of insurance claims for metal thefts from churches has risen from just 12 in 2002 to more than 2,500 last year – attacks described by Peter Walley, chaplain to the bishop of Lichfield, as “the biggest asset-stripping of churches since the dissolution of the monasteries”."
"The demand for scrap is driven by world prices. Those for lead and copper soared to record levels last year with scrap lead peaking at £1,300 a ton. Metal prices fell when the recession hit, but are now picking up again strongly.
Most churches are insured by Ecclesiastical Insurance, which is so concerned at the losses that it recently sent every church a SmartWater kit and warned vicars and bishops it would pay out no more than £5,000 if they failed to use it on their roofs.
A spokesman for Ecclesiastical Insurance said metal theft had become the number one reason for claims. "

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