Dublin archdiocese to seek insurance payout over Covid disruption

Dublin archdiocese to seek insurance payout over Covid disruption

Dublin archdiocese is hopeful that parishes could be in line for an insurance payout to make up for lost collections when churches were forced to suspend Masses by the Government.

According to the recently-filed 2020 financial report for the parishes, the archdiocese “considers there is a valid claim under the business interruption clause of the insurance policies for the parishes.

“A claim is currently being compiled and is due to be submitted in the near future,” the report reads.

This paper understands that other dioceses are not currently considering such a step. However, it is understood that the Dublin approach will be watched carefully.

Earlier this year, parishes received a rebate from insurance operator Allianz, who provides much of the Church in Ireland’s insurance cover.

Parishes received the rebate based on the “reduced possibility of a claim under their Public Liability and Employers Liability Covers”, an Allianz spokesman told this paper at the time.

The rebate was provided as a percentage of each parish’s premium, with each parish receiving the same percentage rebate.

It is likely that the archdiocese’s pursuit of a business interruption claim is intended to offset a collapse in the archdiocese’s finances as a result of the pandemic, the 2020 financial report for the parishes revealing an 80% drop in collection income in a three-month period.

The archdiocese of Dublin’s 2020 financial report detailed a continued fall in the diocese’s finances over the last year, a trend accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to slow its spread.

The ‘Parishes of the Diocese of Dublin’ report, covering the financial statements of the combined parishes, the clerical fund, the common fund and the share fund reported a deficit of €4.3 million for 2020, whereas 2019 saw a surplus of €7.7 million.

The results for the 189 parishes of the diocese are combined in the report, but the “net movement in the funds” for the parishes worked out at €1.5 million in 2020, compared to €6.3 million in 2019.