After much delay, the church now has a date for a hearing before the independent panel of appraisers charged with resolving the dispute between First Church and its insurers as to the value of losses from the fire of September 2016. The hearing is scheduled for May 28-31, 2019.
Expectations had been for the hearing to be held by now, but the insurers retained additional attorneys and consultants who needed to be brought up-to-speed on the claim and whose schedules had to be accommodated; one of the insurers' attorneys became unavailable for an entire month for medical reasons.
While the hearing schedule was pending, some progress was made toward reducing the amount in dispute. Last month the insurers recognized an additional $500,000 in losses claimed by First Church. The church and the insurers are now about $4 1/2 million apart. Efforts are ongoing to further narrow the gap prior to the appraisal hearing.
Although it may be a few months until the insurance claim is settled, the Blue Fire Committee and First Church's architects are progressing on schedule as they lead the church through the pre-design stage in the rebuilding of Pilgrim Hall. The rebuilding timeline is unaffected by the delay in resolving the church's insurance claim.