Several thousand politicians, public safety officials and security personnel can breathe a sigh of relief now that the Pope is back on his home soil. While his visit to the U. S. was a resounding success, a behind-the-scenes security effort was working overtime pulling out all stops. The enormity of the events and the risk they posed is boggling. This visit required papal insurance.
Driving in a glass bubble through crowds of millions; visiting venues as diverse as the White House, Congress,
the U. N., a convent, an inner city school and a prison. Large scale events in large public venues were held in three of America’s largest cities. Add to that “a client” who likes to get close to and mingle with people. The Pope is famous for ditching his security staff and other security measures. In an interview last year, he said “It’s true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose.”
There were five insurance companies, including lead insurer W. R. Berkley Corp and OneBeacon Insurance that underwrote the Papal insurance for coverage for the Pope’s visit. The Papal insurance premium was in the range of a couple hundred thousand dollars. The coverage limit was in tens of millions of dollars, according to executives with knowledge of the coverage.
In Philadelphia, the Pope attended the Roman Catholic World Meeting of Families 2015 Conference. The policy covered everything. An example was an irreplaceable historical lectern once used by President Abraham Lincoln to deliver The Gettysburg Address in 1863. Also Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway event Sunday, where the Pope said mass before 250, 000 people.
The Papal insurance policy covered “load-ins”. This included preparations for the events such as television cables being run and altars being built
During such a visit a claim could come from anybody that came to the event or anybody associated with the event. A person could have fallen over some wires or television cables that were around. They could then claim that his or her injuries were caused by the negligence of the Roman Catholic World Meeting of Families.
Terrorism is always a concern and there was more security against the possibility of terrorism than anything anyone has ever seen. LeConte Moore of DeWitt Stern Group’s Entertainment and Media division said that while most U. S. insurers shy away from underwriting special event coverages, it can be very profitable for those that have developed expertise in this area.
The reason the majority of insurers in the U. S. shy away from underwriting special event coverages is because it is a one-shot deal. They get one chance to make money and the risk is over.