No claims clergy get Bishop's bonus

 A Newcastle-based insurance brokers that offers a £5 charity donation for every priest who signs up for a policy with them is to present the Catholic overseas aid agency CAFOD with a cheque for over a thousand pounds.

Bishop Skinner Insurance Brokers, of St James Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, decided to make the pledge to CAFOD early in 2008 and after 227 successful sales has hit the grand total of £1135.

John Noone, of Bishop Skinner Insurance Brokers, said that if the policy continued to be as successful in the future, they would like to make an annual donation of £1,000 or £2,000 to CAFOD. He said: "We've run the policy for quite a few years in Hexham & Newcastle diocese, but we've started to cast our nets wider and cover the whole country. We're not quite there yet, but we'd be delighted if we could make this an annual commitment to CAFOD.

"From an insurer's point of view, priests are a good risk. They generally don't do a lot of mileage and aren't flogging the car to death. It's almost a class of business set apart. Priests who come to us should be saving money and also getting something for CAFOD."

Holly Ball, Head of Fundraising at CAFOD, said: "We're delighted and very grateful to Bishop Skinner for supporting CAFOD in this way. It's well known that priests live by the Word of the Lord, but this policy reflects their adherence to another important book - the Highway Code. It would be great to see more priests taking advantage of this offer."

Fr Mick Conaty, Parish Priest for St Anthony of Padua in Newcastle, has had a policy with Bishop Skinner for 25 years. He said: "My parish is a big supporter of CAFOD so I was thrilled when I found out about the donation.

"My car is essential in enabling me to visit parishioners, hospitals and schools and it's important that I have a good insurance company. Bishop Skinner has always looked after me and been very helpful. I'd certainly encourage other priests to look at what they're offering."

The policies, however, have nothing to do with the name Bishop Skinner and the address in St James Street. John Noone added: "My father had his own business and used to insure a lot of parish properties, social centres and so on in the region, and I took over the business. But then it was pure chance that the business was bought out by Bishop Skinner Insurance Brokers."

Priests interested in insurance from Bishop Skinner should contact John Noone on 0191 244 4919 or

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