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New insurer enters the church market

06 March 2015

A NEW insurer has entered the market for churches, promising customers an annual share in profits.

ParishCare from Trinitas Insurance Services was launched last Friday. It is being underwritten by Aviva, the largest general insurer in the UK.

Its website promises "more flexibility, more peace of mind, and an opportunity to get a little something back from your insurance". Customers are offered an annual share in profits: any excess profits are shared with them, to boost parish funds.

A spokesman explained: "We have a predefined profit calculation which stipulates that insurer profits are shared for the direct benefit of parish policyholders. The amount, of course, will depend on the level of profit achieved, but will ensure that excessive profits are not retained by the insurer in their entirety."

The website also says that the policy has been developed "in association with the Church of England".

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Archbishops' Council said: "We were approached a year ago by an independent firm of brokers wishing to enter the church insurance market. They had a series of conversations with us and with some dioceses to increase their understanding of the Church of England with a view to developing a product that they could provide to meet the needs of parishes.

"Neither the Church of England nor the NCIs [National Church Institutions] are sponsors of their initiative; neither are we allowed, in what is a tightly regulated market, to promote one insurance product over another. Parishes will need to make their own minds up as to their choice of insurance provider."

Other benefits advertised by Trinitas include the freedom to cancel the policy at any time, without penalties. One policy can be bought to cover both the churches and all other parish buildings. There is no limit for theft of metal, and cover for both inadvertent failure to insure and Trustee Legal lndemnity insurance is included as standard.

The insurance market for churches is currently dominated by Ecclesiastical, which covers 97 per cent of Anglican churches in the UK. Last week, the group chief executive of Ecclesiastical Insurance, Mark Hews, said: "The market for church insurance has always been open, and Ecclesiastical welcomes this. During its 127-year history, Ecclesiastical has seen many insurance companies come and go. We are proud to be . . . supporting the Anglican Church throughout this period, always being there for our church customers at their time of need. It is our charitable ownership . . . our Christian ethos, and our strong reputation for claims management that sets us apart."

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