The question is worth raising because (a) the premiums for insurance this year are huge (a 530% increase on last year's premiums), (b) currently the excess on the collective insurance we have is $15 million (which means that in a minor earthquake there might be no payout despite the huge pay in of premiums, and (c) it appears that other churches are not required to have earthquake insurance, a notable example being the Anglican cathedral of Wellington which I am told has not had earthquake insurance for many years. It seems to me that the insurance the Anglican Insurance Board has procured for us is insurance for catastrophic earthquakes, not for (comparatively) minor earthquakes. In terms of our earthquake experiences in Canterbury, it is insurance for 22 February 2011 and not 4 September 2010. But it is the best they can do in a market somewhat loathe to provide insurance!
Of course it sounds simple and neat to not have insurance for a catastrophic earthquake, but we do need some provision for paying for the demolition of buildings, and there are considerations about public liability and such things which I do not understand well.
What are your views?
My submission re our Synod:
"That this Synod,
Notes changes to our Title F Canon 3 Clause 14 (on insurance of church buildings) at our recent General Synod (July, 2012), the effect of these changes being to clarify that church trustees are not required to ensure insurance for earthquake damage as part of their prudential duties,*
Notes other dioceses and other denominations in Aotearoa New Zealand are permitting buildings not to be insured for earthquake damage,**
Notes that our own Financial Regulations (2007) Section 13 Clause 13.2 states, “All buildings and other improvements will have material damage insurance cover for replacement value unless specifically agreed otherwise with the Church Property Trustees”,
Notes that current premiums for earthquake insurance are potentially either unaffordable by some parishes or inhibiting of continuation of current provision for stipended ministry,
Agrees to the principle that parish buildings in the Diocese of Christchurch for the time being need not be insured for earthquake risks; and
Recommends to the Church Property Trustees the principle that parish buildings in the Diocese of Christchurch for the time being need not be insured for earthquake risks, and
Asks the Diocesan Manager to convey this resolution to the Church Property Trustees on the close of this session of Synod.
Mover: Peter Carrell
Explanation: It is clear to the mover, both from conversations with clerical and lay synod members, and from participation in a seminar at St Timothy’s Burnside on Saturday 26 May, 2012 led by the Anglican Insurance Board, that there is (a) considerable concern about the affordability of insurance premiums re earthquake cover, (b) questioning whether earthquake cover is necessary for the time-being, with such questions being more urgently raised when it is realised that the Diocese of Wellington, at least in relation to Wellington city, is not requiring insurance for earthquake cover.
It is also the understanding of the mover that some buildings in the Diocese of Nelson are not being insured for earthquake cover; as well, some Presbyterian buildings are likewise not being insured, a notable and historic example being Knox Presbyterian Church in Dunedin.
Whether this motion is the best form of words to address this matter is open to question but the mover feels strongly that the parishes of the Diocese of Christchurch should not be bound to pay what they do not need to pay, and thus there should be a debate in Synod on this matter.
*A proposal is going to General Synod for such change. Obviously we need to receive the actual change (if any) which General Synod agrees to.
**To the mover’s knowledge this includes the Diocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Nelson, as well as the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand." Cited from the submission I made on 1 June 2012.