Question in full:
This year our practice has suffered two instances of theft of lead from the surgery roofs, both of which we have had to claim for. Our insurance policy has now come up for renewal and our insurers are excluding protection of the lead from the policy. As they insure the buildings is it right that they can pick and choose items like lead and exclude them?
A: Unfortunately, the short answer to this is ‘yes’. The insurer can pick elements of the cover or premises it does not wish to cover or impose specific terms for cover. This can be by increasing the excess for a specific peril or occurrence or just excluding the cover altogether.
Theft of lead has been a thorn in the side of insurers over recent years, with an increasing number of claims coming in due to the high value of scrap metal, but insurers also have problems with the resultant damage caused by the removal of the lead. Ingress of water, due to the roof no longer being weatherproof can potentially cost more than the replacement value of the lead, as quite often the theft of the lead can go undiscovered for some time.
My only suggestion, which I would have thought your insurers’ would have suggested, is replacing the lead with ubiflex or a similar product, which looks very similar to lead but has no scrap value.