Gloucester insurer deploys Reading tech to protect heritage buildings

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester headquartered specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has launched Ecclesiastical Smart Properties, using technology to protect some of the UK’s most iconic properties.

In a first-of-its-kind scheme, the insurer is rolling out the risk management technology to select heritage, education and faith customers.

Properties will have unobtrusive, battery operated sensors installed, which will discreetly monitor for escape of water and electrical fire risks in real-time. One in four of all Ecclesiastical Insurance property claims in 2020 were caused by escape of water.

The technology, developed by Reading-based property performance management firm Shepherd, learns what normal looks like for a building over a short period. The sensors send real-time data back to a hub which analyses it and can send alerts as an early warning to potential losses if something is out of the ordinary.

By gathering insight from around a property, continuously monitoring for escape of water and fire risks in real-time, it is faster and easier to detect early signs of issues that could potentially cause water leaks or fires. The system can also monitor other types of risks including humidity and legionella.

In addition, the smart technology provides insights to help cut energy consumption and informing preventative maintenance schedules. By better understanding usage patterns, operational expenses are reduced and there is less need to call out emergency repairs and less business disruption.

Stephen Chadwick, Shepherd’s CEO said: “Shepherd are proud to be Ecclesiastical’s technology partner helping protect some of the UK’s most prestigious properties and sites. We’ve worked alongside Ecclesiastical since January 2019, and this is a significant step forward for the insurance world and its customers.

Ecclesiastical Smart Properties will be provided at no additional cost to selected customers who will receive several water leak sensors and a thermal surge sensor. Customers will also have the option to expand the system to monitor other types of risks including humidity and legionella as well as solve a range of problems including improving energy consumption and carbon footprint reduction at an additional cost.

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, we’re passionate about protecting Britain’s heritage. As part of our innovation programme we’re delighted to be partnering with Shepherd to deliver our cutting edge technology proposition at heritage, education and faith properties. We know that incidents such as electrical fire or escape of water can be disastrous and incredibly disruptive for customers, which is why we’re launching Ecclesiastical Smart Properties to detect issues as early as possible.”

Similar technology has been successfully trialled by Ecclesiastical and Shepherd at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath and has been rolled out to other properties in the English Heritage estate.