SmartWater - latest news from Ecclesiastical Insurance

Parishes are advised to read the latest information from Ecclesiastical Insurance regarding the use of Smart Water.

As detailed within policy documents, the use of SmartWater is a current condition of insurance cover and SmartWater must be used to security mark external metalwork (e.g. roofing lead). We would also strongly recommend it is used to security mark portable valuable items, such as communion plate, at the same time.

Insurance is there to provide protection in the event of unexpected losses/events, but unfortunately, as theft of metal has increased in frequency over the last few years, it is no longer an unexpected event, but rather an inevitability. SmartWater has been, and remains, a key tool in our fight against this crime epidemic, but records show that many churches have either not used the SmartWater kit sent to them in 2007 or, if they have done so, have not registered the use of the forensic solution.

In the event of a metal theft incident, this will make it nearly impossible for the police to trace the stolen metal back to the church where it was taken from and much harder to achieve a conviction for the culprits. With all the above in mind, we’ve consequently had to review our SmartWater policy condition and are now withdrawing all cover for theft of external metal and subsequent damage from churches that have not applied SmartWater, displayed SmartWater signage and registered with SmartWater.

This change will take effect for renewals after 1st July 2011 and we will write to church policyholders in advance of their renewal date to confirm this.

Parishes that have complied with the SmartWater policy condition (i.e. applied SmartWater, displayed the signage and registered with SmartWater) will not be affected by this change – they will continue to have metal theft cover to the policy limits.

What do parishes need to do now?

To ensure that parishes receive the benefit of the £5,000 policy cover for the replacement of external metal following theft or attempted theft and the £5,000 cover for subsequent damage, e.g. entry of rainwater (both policy covers are “ in any one period of insurance”), they need to take the following action now:

•   Check that each church has used the SmartWater kit supplied and that it has been registered with SmartWater.

•   Check that the SmartWater signage supplied with the kit has been displayed outside each church and is clearly visible.


If parishes require additional SmartWater supplies, they can receive a 40% discount when purchasing SmartWater solution from CPS who can also supply SmartWater signage (posters, plastic signs and stickers). For more information, please call 0845 458 4584.

Parishes can also obtain SmartWater from other suppliers with no connection to the Ecclesiastical Group.

SmartWater as a metal theft deterrent

•   Ecclesiastical pay SmartWater an annual license fee for each church insured to enable continued protection for customers.

•   74% of offenders interviewed in a survey* reported that they would be put off from breaking into a building with SmartWater signage displayed.

•   For details of the latest SmartWater church success story please visit the guidance section at www.ecclesiastical.com/churchmatters


SmartWater kit registration

If a parish is unsure whether or not a SmartWater kit has been registered they can call CPS on 0845 458 4584 and check their registration status. It is vital to know whether a church is registered or not because if there is a theft of metal incident at a church which isn’t registered, it will not be possible to link recovered materials to the building. Insurance cover would also be adversely affected.

From January 2011 the SmartWater registration process has been changed so that now, when a SmartWater kit is ordered from CPS, it will be automatically registered with SmartWater by CPS. If a parish has ordered a kit recently and is unsure about their registration status, it is advisable to call CPS on 0845 458 4584 to check.