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Daily Insurance Industry News
Thursday 18th of October 2018
November 13, 2007

Ecclesiastical team up with SmartWater to protect churches

by Richard Kilner

Story link: Ecclesiastical team up with SmartWater to protect churches

Ecclesiastical and security firm SmartWater are collaborating to safeguard Anglican churches insured by Ecclesiastical from metal theft.

The insurance should cover more than 16,500 churches, the insurer has stated.

SmartWater is a harmless liquid that contains a unique forensic code, allowing marked items to be traced directly back to the owner(s) with no chance of error. In addition, criminals involved in stealing marked items will be identifiable. The liquid is invisible in the normal spectrum of light, but clearly apparent under UV.

Under Ecclesiastical’s plans SmartWater will be used extensively to mark lead roofs, other valuable metals, and personal possessions. Spray systems will also be set up to try and mark thieves.

Lead is the most common cause of claim from churches. This year the insurer received over 1,800 claims for a cost of almost £5.8m.

The cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham are the worst areas in the country for such thefts, incurring 400 claims between them in 2007.

Steve Wood, Ecclesiastical’s MD for the UK and Ireland, said that the time had come for metal theft from churches to stop, and that the insurer’s usage of hi-tech solutions have been proven to get results.

Wood went on to describe churches as important both for communities and for heritage, and hoped that any potential thieves would think twice following the announcement of SmartWater’s imminent introduction as an anti-theft measure.

Phil Cleary, SmartWater’s CEO, stated that 95% of British police forces use the technology in some manner, and cited the 400 convictions secured by SmartWater, with many not even going to trial due to the extremely strong nature of the evidence.

 

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