Congregational Insurance have now released a new unoccupancy statement in respect of the Covid 19 Pandemic which you will need to read carefully:
Congregational Statement Unoccupied Premises – 1 September 2020
This statement replaces all previous versions issued on 12 June, 24 and 20 March 2020*
Many churches have reopened following government advice and local authority lockdown guidance. Where churches have decided to delay opening we confirm that the improved level of cover provided for churches which remain closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is extended to 30 September 2020, where required.
We restate the information as follows:
For a period up to and including the 30 September 2020, we confirm that if the church decides to remain closed solely due to concerns about coronavirus (Covid-19), (see note 2) we will a) waive the condition to advise us of that closure and b) waive the restrictions in the policy relating to premises which are empty, disused, or not in use, subject to the following:
- In accordance with the policy wording, the church must take reasonable steps to prevent injury or damage and consideration should be given to ensure that this is the case. It is recommended that such steps be documented.
- Portable valuable items to be removed from the property and stored securely at church officials or members’ homes.
- The church to be inspected internally and externally at least weekly and any signs of damage / attempted entry or unsafe condition be repaired immediately and reported to us without delay and a record kept (see note 1).
- All security devices including intruder & fire alarms be placed in operation.
- Services (gas, water, and electricity) to be turned off where the church is able to do so. If churches are unable to turn off services, then we would require an increased inspection regime of every three days (see note 1). If electricity is required to enable fire or intruder alarms, then this may be left on.
* previous statements may be found on the Covid-19 policyholder information page on the congregational website www.congregational.co.uk/policyholders/policyholder-information
We do not expect anyone to place themselves at any unnecessary risk, however the church must make arrangements for regular inspections to be undertaken.
- The buildings must be inspected at least once a week for any signs of damage including but not restricted to graffiti and attempted entry to the building. Any such signs must be notified to us immediately.
- This inspection should include outbuildings, oil tanks, and other structures in the grounds and should also identify and address any safety issues identified.
- The inspection must be undertaken in accordance with all precautions relating to protection from Covid-19.
In accordance with the policy wording all efforts should be made to protect the church wherever possible and safe to do so. We accept it is important that guidance provided by the Government and Public Health Authorities is followed at all times.
Property left unoccupied is more susceptible to damage – particularly caused by malicious damage, theft or water damage. Resulting damage can also increase if not detected early. Please contact us immediately as soon as the church becomes aware that damage has occurred, whether this is the subject of a claim or not and in accordance with the claims conditions in your policy.
Please visit www.spow.co.uk for guidance on general health and security issues but specifically:
The protection of unoccupied premises: www.spow.co.uk/property-care-maintenance/unoccupied-buildings.php
The safety of church ground and graveyards: www.spow.co.uk/heath-safety-obligations/churchyard-outdoors.php
If the church decides to not reopen and close on a permanent basis the extended cover outlined above will not be applicable and you should contact your broker or Congregational immediately for details of the restricted cover that will apply.
If you have any queries in respect of the above, please contact us 01564 730 900 or send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org