France’s AXA Insures 2 Notre Dame Contractors, Some Religious Artworks

By | April 16, 2019

French insurance firm AXA said on Tuesday it provided insurance coverage for two of the contracting firms that were working on Notre-Dame’s restoration prior to the blaze that devastated the cathedral.

The fire ripped through the cathedral’s roof, where workers from a number of contractors had been carrying out extensive renovations to the spire’s timber-framed supports. Police have begun questioning the workers involved, the prosecutor’s office has said.

The two construction firms insured by AXA are Europe Echafaudage and Le Bras Frères.

In a statement released on Tuesday (see complete statement below), AXA said its staff were cooperating fully with investigators.

The French insurer also said it provided insurance coverage for some of the relics and religious artworks displayed in the cathedral.

An AXA spokesman declined to estimate the company’s potential liabilities associated with the damage caused.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz has said there was no obvious indication the fire was arson and they were working on the theory it was an accident.

The French state’s policy is to bear the cost of reconstruction of historical monuments such as Notre-Dame cathedral in the event of disasters.

President Emmanuel Macron has said France will launch a fundraising campaign to rebuild Notre-Dame. Several of France’s business elite have already pledged several hundred millions euros to help.

While some of the large paintings at Notre-Dame could not be taken down in time, the country’s culture minister, Franck Riester, said a number of the many artworks in the cathedral had been rescued and put in safe storage.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Alison Williams)

Editor’s Note: The complete statement from AXA:

“The Notre Dame cathedral is classified as a historical monument since 1862, and like all properties belonging to the state, it is self-insured by the state (therefore AXA is not the insurer for the monument itself).

Among the many companies working on the on-going construction projects of the cathedral, AXA France provides civil-liability coverage to two companies: Europe Echafaudage and Le Bras Frères.

Additionally, AXA Art is involved in the insurance of certain artefacts and ceremonial objects in the Notre-Dame.

Presently, the cause of the fire is currently under investigation. All AXA teams are fully cooperating with the state services to aid in the process. We must now be patient and let the specialists do their work.”

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