First Church Gets Ruling on Insurance Claim

Thu, Jun 13, 2019

On June 11 an independent appraisal panel issued its ruling as to the amount of money First Church should receive from its insurers to repair damage to our buildings caused by the fire of September 30, 2016.  The insurers had previously paid the church $7.2 million for the pending restoration of Pilgrim Hall and $3.5 million for repairs to the Sanctuary and abatement and stabilization work that has already been accomplished.  The appraisal panel ruled that, for Pilgrim Hall, First Church is due an additional $1.6 million immediately, plus $89,000 once the restoration begins.  For the Sanctuary repairs and abatement/stabilization work, the panel ruled that the church is due an additional $655,0000, payable immediately.
The appraisal panel's actions bring to a close a 2 1/2 year effort by First Church to obtain a fair settlement of the church's claim. The church recognized early in 2017 that the insurers had underestimated the cost to restore our buildings; thus the church was due more than what the insurers had paid.  Attempts to get additional payment were only partly successful.  Ultimately, the church called for an independent appraisal panel to determine how much more the insurers should pay, in a form of binding arbitration.  Considering the additional amounts that the Insurers agreed to pay prior to appraisal as well as the amounts awarded by the appraisal panel, the church will receive $4 million more as a result of disputing the Insurers' measure of our loss.
What this means going forward is that (1) the church's costs incurred for repair of the Sanctuary and for site mitigation and stabilization will be fully covered by insurance proceeds; and (2) the church will have at least $8.5 million available for restoring Pilgrim Hall. (The insurance proceeds for Pilgrim Hall less what has already been spent.)  The Blue Fire team will now be able to develop more specific design options for Pilgrim Hall based on the available insurance proceeds.