AXA XL’s North American construction business has announced the launch of tailored builders’ risk insurance programs to address its construction clients’ mass timber project risks.
Mass timber, which includes cross-laminated timber, is a group of engineered wood products that use small wood members to produce large panels, beams, and columns engineered to minimize wood’s natural inconsistencies so that it can be used for structural building components. The building material is gaining popularity in North America.
“The construction industry is seeing significant benefits working with mass timber,” said Gary Kaplan, president of AXA XL’s North America construction business. “It’s a sustainable building material that can be prefabricated, requiring fewer workers and less safety concerns. It can speed up construction time. And from a design perspective, mass timber construction has a lot of curb appeal. From a risk perspective, it can be challenging. But 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.”
Mass timber is environmentally friendly, with a smaller carbon footprint than many building materials.
“Addressing this insurance challenge for our clients certainly also aligns with AXA XL’s corporate social responsibility efforts to reduce our own carbon footprint and support those organizations who are looking to do the same,” Kaplan said.
“The insurance industry has long been wary of the risks of wood construction,” said Joe Vierling, profit centre head for AXA XL’s builders’ risk business in North America. “Wood, even engineered wood, is still combustible and presents a higher combustible load than standard non-combustible building materials. Fortunately, given our clients’ attention to risk management and the growing availability of technology that can help monitor buildings during construction, we’re confident we can successfully extend capacity to cover carefully managed mass timber construction risks.”