The Fire Recovery Committee shares this report, drafted by chair Milton Fujii.
Shortly after the fire of September 30, 2016, First Church’s insurers issued an initial payment for the restoration of Pilgrim Hall, based on their early assessment of damage. Subsequently, the church conducted its own assessment and developed a detailed estimate of the restoration cost. We submitted a claim last month for the full cost to restore Pilgrim Hall as it was before the fire, a figure substantially higher than the initial payment, but within the limits of our policy.
We are awaiting an initial response to our claim from our insurers. It may take several months to reach a settlement, but the church should ultimately receive payment sufficient to restore Pilgrim Hall to its pre-fire condition. However, when we restore Pilgrim Hall, we will be required by building codes to add improvements—such as fire sprinkler and alarm systems, an elevator and other accessibility features, structural reinforcement, and energy conservation features—that go beyond restoration of fire damage.
Our insurance policy limits payment for code-required improvements to $500,000; the actual cost will likely be in the range of $1.5M to $2.0M. Thus, the insurance shortfall for Pilgrim Hall is expected to be between $1.0 and $1.5 million. The actual shortfall for restoring Pilgrim Hall could be more, or less, depending on whether the church chooses to make changes in the design and/or amount of space, and whether we are able to recover any of our insurance shortfall from the parties responsible for starting the fire.