Church insurer reports falling claims

Metal theft claims have fallen by 50% said Church of England insurer Ecclesiastical.

There were 480 claims costing around £1.4m in the first nine months of 2013. The number was down from 960 claims in the same period last year.

The drop in claims follows a positive effort to prevent thieves and dealers profiting from metal theft.

“We are obviously relieved to see this decline in the number of metal theft incidents,” said Ecclesiastical’s John Coates.

“However, it is clear from the statistics that the war on metal theft is still far from over and there is more work still to be done.”

The drop is part of a broader trend of falling claims received by Ecclesiastical.

The specialist church and historical buildings insurer received 143 claims in the first three months of the year, down from 358 claims in the first quarter of 2012 and 615 in 2011.

It is the lowest number of claims Ecclesiastical has received since the problem of metal theft started escalating in 2007. The insurer puts the drop down to a combination of greater public awareness and vigilance, changes in scrap-metal regulation and government investment in a specialist metal theft taskforce. Risk management measures including the distribution of forensic metalmarking kits to 16,000 Church of England churches and the installation of wireless roof alarm systems at some of the most at-risk churches also cut thefts, Ecclesiastical said.