Ecclesiastical Insurance advises places of worship to double down on lightning protection to avoid catastrophe

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

TORONTO, July 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recent summer storms have underscored the risk of lightning strikes to churches and other places of worship. The recent devastation of Grace United Church in Sudbury, Ontario, is an unfortunate reminder that the design, size, age and presence of spires and steeples make churches more prone to lightning strikes. According to firefighters, the landmark church was actually struck twice by lighting during a single storm.

A recent inspection blitz of lightning protection systems by Ecclesiastical Insurance, the leading insurer of places of worship in Canada, found deficiencies at every location. These deficiencies included:

  • Lack of proper grounding
  • Bonding of the system to other building components
  • Deteriorated condition of the down conductors
  • Location of the air terminals/lightning rods

Colin Robertson, Vice President, Risk Control and Operations at Ecclesiastical Insurance believes the risk to these community hubs is great enough to warrant action. “While it may seem impossible to protect a church building against something as random as lightning, protection systems can make a dramatic difference, if they are installed and maintained properly.”

Robertson recommends that churches and places of worship not only retain a licensed lightning protection company for a thorough inspection of the system every five years, but that they also do a visual inspection every year.

This visual inspection should include an examination of each conductor or cables connecting the air terminals to the ground to ensure they are continuous and have not been cut or separated in any way. Any deficiencies or concerns should be discussed with a licensed lightning protection company.

“The Canadian Standards Association place churches in the highest risk category for lightning strikes. I believe that every place of worship should take that risk seriously, especially as the frequency and severity of weather events continues to increase,” Robertson advised.

About Ecclesiastical Insurance

Founded in 1887 and with offices in Canada since 1972, Ecclesiastical Insurance is a specialist insurance provider. Working closely with independent brokers, Ecclesiastical provides customized insurance solutions and services to faith organizations, retirement communities, education facilities, arts & culture institutions, funeral service providers and registered charities and non-profit groups.


Colin Robertson, V.P., Operations and Risk Control
Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc