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Insurance fit for a queen: after looking at various risks, a Virginia-based brokerage secured insurance for an upcoming visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Long before the May 2007 celebrations get under way to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va.,--America's first settlement--insurance broker Richard Coon, senior vice president of Alexandria, Va.-based Rutherfoord, has been planning for potential risks.

After being chosen as the broker for the celebration, which is being organized by Jamestown 2007 Inc., a sub-agency of the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, Coon worked to make sure every angle of the festivities leading up to "America's 400th Anniversary" was covered.

"The project's been under way for five years. The actual physical promotion of the project has been going on for two years, and the biggest piece of that was building the Godspeed ship," Coon said.

The 88-foot, three-masts wooden ship is a replica of one of the three ships that brought the English settlers who founded Jamestown in 1607. The ship's hull is insured through the Commonwealth of Virginia, but Coon was charged with finding coverage for the ship's 83-day journey during summer 2006 from Alexandria, Va., to Newport, R.I., with stops at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Coon secured general liability coverage for the celebrations along the way, and property coverage for all land-based functions, including a 40,000-square-foot stage that traveled with the ship and was used for various festivities. Great American Insurance Cos. provided the vast majority of coverage, and American International Group provided pollution coverage for the ports.

Great American wrote the three-year policy with an annual renewal, Coon said, so the company could review the policy every year to update it if necessary. "It's a moving target. Things keep changing, depending on what was going to be at the festival, where the Godspeed was going to go," Coon said.

One of the biggest concerns, Coon said, was terrorism risk.

"It was difficult because of the localities," Coon said. "The Godspeed was harbored in New York for 10 days over the July 4th weekend. The presence or memories of Sept. 11 were causing some heartburn with the underwriting community."

The celebration will culminate May 11-13, with the Jamestown Anniversary Weekend, which will feature a visit by Queen Elizabeth II and some other members of the British royal family. President Bush also has been invited, but hasn't confirmed his attendance yet. The festival organizers are expecting some 35,000 visitors to attend each day of the three-day event.

"Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and his sons are supposed to come as well, to play in a polo match," Coon said. "Having them in Williamsburg and Jamestown elevates the terrorism risk. There is an extremely high level of security involved."

Coon said many hours were spent determining the insurance needs for activities as diverse as a Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian Institution and a World Forum on Democracy.

While Rutherfoord has brokered insurance for such things as municipalities holding July 4th celebrations, this is the first event of this size it's taken on. "We've never covered one that is mobile and traveling through six different states and having the magnitude of the royal family and hopefully, the president, attending," Coon said. "It's been extremely challenging, but a lot of fun at the same time."
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Title Annotation:Rutherfoord
Author:Green, Meg
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1U5VA
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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