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Tougher policy on metal-theft

23 March 2011

by Ed Beavan

THE insurance company Ecclesiastical has announced that its metal-theft cover will no longer be available to churches where the SmartWater system has not been applied.

SmartWater is a liquid that contains a DNA-style forensic code unique to each recipient, which enables marked items to be traced. Ecclesiastical said this week that churches that were not registered with the scheme, where it was not applied to metals, and that did not display its signage would not be covered.

Ecclesiastical says that it distributed free SmartWater kits to all C of E churches in 2007, but only about half have registered. John Coates, of Ecclesiastical, said that the company’s customers were still finding metal-theft a huge problem, which showed no signs of easing off in the near future. Ecclesiastical had paid out £20 million in claims in the past three years.

“It is clear that if we don’t make these changes now, it will soon be impossible for us to offer any kind of theft-of-metal cover to churches in the future.” A number of cases had proved that SmartWater was vital to securing convictions.

Two years ago, Ecclesiastical introduced cover limits for metal-theft: a maximum of £5000 for replacement metal and £5000 for subsequent costs, such as water damage.

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