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Pope's Philadelphia visit heavily insured

Pope's Philadelphia visit heavily insured

W.R. Berkley Corp. and OneBeacon Insurance Group of New York are lead insurers for Pope Francis' upcoming visit Saturday, said New York-based insurance brokerage Dewitt Stern Group Inc.

The broker, a unit of Risk Strategies Co. Inc., said it partnered with the Roman Catholic World Meeting of Families organization and the Philadelphia Archdiocese to assemble the insurance program, but declined to disclose specifics.

Calling it “probably the biggest special event I've ever handled,” LeConte Moore, managing director of the entertainment and media division at Dewitt Stern, said Tuesday in an interview that the visit poses special risks due to its “uncontained” nature where large numbers of people could line parade routes.

Mr. Moore speaks from experience, having spent more than 20 years at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. working on everything from Super Bowls to presidential inaugurations.

Lead underwriters for the program covering the pope's visit to Philadelphia include Greenwich, Connecticut-based W.R. Berkley and New York-based OneBeacon, Mr. Moore said.

“OneBeacon is one of several companies participating in an excess layer of coverage for Pope Francis’ Philadelphia visit, and it excludes terrorism coverage,” a spokeswoman said.

Berkley declined comment.

The policy covers everything from an irreplaceable lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address in 1863 to Philadelphia's famed Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the pope will say mass Saturday before an anticipated 250,000-plus people, Dewitt Stern said in a statement.

The policy even contains terrorism cover, which Mr. Moore said was a stand-alone policy and not linked to the federal terrorism backstop.

Mr. Moore said worked with Bill Curtis of Porter & Curtis L.L.C., a specialist broker with the archdiocese that enlisted Dewitt for its special event expertise.

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