28 January 2021News

AXA XL launches builders risk insurance for mass timber projects in North America

AXA XL’s North America has unveiled tailored builders risk insurance programmes for its construction clients’ mass timber project risks.

Mass timber is a family of engineered wood products, including cross laminated timber, that minimise wood’s natural inconsistencies, making it increasingly popular in North America for producing large wood panels, beams and columns.

Gary Kaplan, president of AXA XL’s North America construction business, noted that mass timber has a lot of advantages from a building perspective, but can be challenging in terms of risk.

The insurance industry has long been wary of the risks of wood construction, because it is combustible and presents a higher combustible load than standard noncombustible building materials.

AXA XL now provides coverage and capacity to experienced contractors that have successfully delivered mass timber projects, using proven materials supplied by experienced manufacturers.

“These projects will employ the latest monitoring technology and fire suppression systems to complement the contractors robust risk management programmes,” said Joe Vierling, profit center head for AXA XL’s builders risk business in North America.

“When a broker like Arthur J. Gallagher comes to us on behalf of a client, like major commercial contractor Swinerton, we knew we needed to take on the challenge to find a solution appropriate to the risk,” Kaplan said.

As an environmentally friendly and renewable resource with a smaller carbon footprint, addressing this insurance challenge also aligns with AXA XL’s corporate social responsibility efforts, Kaplan added.