RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGN: Ecclesiastical helps churches stop thefts - Religious

Ecclesiastical Insurance insures more than 95 per cent of Anglican churches. Last year Ecclesiastical saw a significant increase in the number of churches that reported thefts of lead from their roofs and copper from their lightning conductors, prompted by the rising price of raw metal.

Campaign: Launch of SmartWater protection for church roofs
Client: Ecclesiastical Insurance
PR Team: In-house, with support from the SmartWater PR team
Timescale: November 2007- present
Budget: c. £5,000

In 2005 Ecclesiastical paid 80 claims but last year received 2,300 claims, at a cost of over £8.5m.

As a result, Ecclesiastical has teamed up with experts in forensic security SmartWater to protect the 16,500 churches it insures. SmartWater is a non-hazardous liquid that contains a DNA-style forensic code. Each church received a unique SmartWater code. The solution is invisible under normal light, but glows under ultra-violet light.


To reduce the number of insurance claims. To raise awareness of SmartWater and encourage churches to use it.


Ecclesiastical set up demonstrations of SmartWater at churches in some of the worst hit areas of the country including Northampton, Nottingham and Manchester. It invited the press as well as spokespeople from SmartWater, the police and the Church. Ecclesisatical sent a free sample of SmartWater to every church it insures and sent extra supplies to churches that had been targeted by thieves. It also worked with police forces to raise the profile of SmartWater among scrap dealers.


Collective media coverage from the campaign has reached nearly 50 million people. There were more than 130 pieces of regional press coverage, including the Birmingham Post and Yorkshire Post, and national coverage in the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. There were more than 25 regional radio interviews and national coverage on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Around 10 regional TV pieces were broadcast and there was coverage on Sky News and the BBC. There was also international coverage from CNN News and The Washington Post.


There were 358 claims in October. Since the campaign was launched the number of claims fell to 319 in November and 187 in December. Ecclesiastical Insurance has received several enquiries about SmartWater and has sold extra supplies to around 30 churches.

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