Why It’s Difficult to Insure Iconic Properties Such as Notre Dame

By Danica Kirka | April 22, 2019

  • April 22, 2019 at 7:39 am
    Polaredacted BARReport says:
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    I disagree completely with the premise of this article and the author’s reasoning.

    First, insurance for unique properties w/should be expensive. However, cost mitigation is prevalent for large commercial buildings; e.g. large deductibles and reinsurance on upper layers. In this era, there are also many actuaries (and accountants and underwriters) who are capable of modeling the risk and finding an ILS market to take on much of the excess layer risk of unique properties. In practice, an ILS would be fairly similar to donations by the wealthy French citizens and businesses that are being pledged now to rebuild. Two distinctions are that the ‘donations’ would be mandatory per the ILS contracts and investors in ILSs would receive a fair market return on their ‘bonds’.

    One distinction for the Notre Dame Cathedral (NDC) is the French government ownership, introducing both complexities and opportunities for cost-sharing. French citizens would be wise to inquire of political candidates their campaign platform on covering property and liability risks which are currently borne by the French Government, thus, ultimately, by French taxpayers.

  • April 22, 2019 at 8:14 am
    retired risk manager says:
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    Excellent article. Even more so because it echos my comments right after the fire. Of course, the usual crowd thought I was wrong. Some buildings are just not insurable. The Texas capital building is not insured …. by an insurance company. It is “insured” by the taxpayers of Texas.

  • April 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm
    Joel says:
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    Very hard to insure something you can’t put a value on. I, for one, would be unwilling to offer a replacement cost policy for such a grand, unique and ancient structure. I do tend to agree that it is uninsurable simply because it would be just too expensive to properly insure. Besides, it appears as if the French Gov’t. is going to get ND rebuilt with no out of pocket cost in any case. Who is looking like the smart buyer, or non-buyer, now?

    • April 22, 2019 at 2:22 pm
      retired risk manager says:
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      As the old saying goes, “the only sure underwriting bet, is a fire policy covering pig iron under water, with a rust exclusion”. Only old timers will understand. Once again, some things are simply not insurable.

  • April 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm
    Just saying says:
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    We relish our sacred edifices but the Church is not a building. He said He would rebuild the Temple in 3 days.

    The Lord preached in the outdoors and the dust, and even made sacred mud to cure the blind man.

  • April 23, 2019 at 2:26 pm
    NC P&C Agent says:
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    “Why It’s Difficult to Insure ICONIC Properties Such as Notre Dame”

    Iconic? I see what you did there.



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