How to properly insure your castle?  Advice from GEA Assurances

How to properly insure your castle? Advice from GEA Assurances

Specialist in the insurance of high-end hotel-restaurants and castles / beautiful residences. The “specialized” broker GEA Assurances offers guarantees of actual amount and replacement value. GEA Assurances allows savings of around 20% compared to a traditional insurance contract.

“Securing your property well means being well protected at its real value”

Adrien Charlet, Executive Director of GEA Assurances
Adrien Charlet, Executive Director of GEA Assurances

What is the DNA of GEA Assurances, a family business created more than 50 years ago?

Our success is based on two values: proximity to our customers and tailor-made. We pay the utmost attention to everyone to offer customized insurance solutions.

Historically, we have specialized in high-end hotel and restaurant insurance, our clients include the Private Hotels chain, the Grandes Etapes Françaises, the Relais & Chateaux.

Then, naturally, we turned to the insurance of castles and beautiful residences with or without commercial activity.

We insure more than a thousand castles, palaces, estates and museums throughout France. Here are some of our customers:

  • The Champs de Bataille estate, in Eure, owned by Jacques Garcia
  • The castle of Saint Fargeau
  • The gardens of Eyrignac
  • Langeais Castle
  • Milandes castle and gardens, an emblematic residence and museum dedicated to Josephine Baker in the Dordogne.

Our clients have two characteristics: they are atypical and extremely attached to their heritage.

The insurance of their assets therefore plays an important role in the event of a cessation of their business as a result of material damage.

What are the main risks to be insured in a castle?

Without hesitation, the sinister fire. Poorly insured, it can lead to the loss of everything without any real possibility of reconstruction. While very often several generations have followed one another to rehabilitate these magnificent properties in whole or in part.

However, most insurance companies cover damages (furniture and property) within the financial limits set out in the contracts. These limits do not allow the refund of 100% of the amount of the repairs.

This is all the less acceptable since it is often a question of properties that make up the wealth of France. When they are classified as Historical Monuments, the constraints in terms of construction and respect for the environment are drastic and the costs necessarily higher than a classic home.

This is why we make it a point of honor to offer one-time guarantees for actual amount and replacement value for ours castle insurance. That is to say without limitation of sums. This is what brings the greatest peace of mind to the owners.

In addition, the “all damages except” clause makes it possible to compensate for some shortcomings of traditional insurance under certain conditions.

For example, recently, the ceiling of a bedroom in a castle, apparently in good condition and maintained, collapsed without a specific cause. We were able to use the “all damages except” clause and compensate the owner at the actual value of the repair, which was approximately € 20,000.

At the same time, we are negotiating with the major insurance companies in the market to design contracts that maximize collateral for our policyholders. The volume of business we bring to them allows them to obtain very competitive rates, 20% or even 30% lower than traditional insurance contracts.

What changes has the Covid crisis brought to the insurance market?

Since January 1st, insurance companies in France have excluded cases of epidemics, pandemics, zootopies, epizootics … in short, all viral and bacteriological risks that could lead to a global closure of the economic system in France and generate the loss of business.

To say otherwise would be to lie to the policyholder. Very often it is the reinsurers who are more committed than the companies themselves in setting the rules of the game and dictating the contracts.

This argument has made a lot of ink flow, in fact, the professionals of the hotel and restaurant sector have wanted to obtain an economic compensation following the confinements decided by the government.

During this period, GEA Assurances acted in partnership with the main insurance companies in the market to compensate its “restaurant” or “hotelier” customers as well as the “Châteaux et Belles residences” which have a restaurant.

A last wish?

I would like to meet Stéphane Bern! We would have many arguments in common, starting with the safeguarding of the French heritage!

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