AXA XL’s North America Construction business has launched tailored builders risk insurance programmes to address the mass timber project risks of its construction clients.

Mass timber, which includes cross laminated timber (CLT), is a building material that is now being widely used in North America.

AXA XL’s North America Construction business president Gary Kaplan said: “The construction industry is seeing significant benefits working with Mass Timber.  It’s a sustainable building material which can be prefabricated, requiring fewer workers and less safety concerns. From a risk perspective, it can be challenging.

He added: “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 organisations who are looking to do the same.”

The Builders Risk insurance programmes are aimed at offering protection to large and complex building projects against first party property damage during construction.

AXA XL’s Builders Risk business in North America Profit Center head Joe Vierling noted: “The insurance industry has long been wary of the risks of wood construction. Wood, even engineered wood, is still combustible and presents a higher combustible load than standard noncombustible building materials.”

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Vierling said that his team will be offering coverage and capacity to experienced contractors who have previously handled mass timber projects by using materials supplied by experienced manufacturers.

These projects will leverage the latest monitoring technology and fire suppression systems to complement the contractors risk management programmes.

He added: “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.”

In November last year, AXA XL’s Subcontractor Default Insurance business in North America teamed up with COMPASS to expand its subcontractor prequalification tools for its construction clients.