Specialist insurer launches the Heritage Barometer 2020

28 October 2020

Specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical has launched the Heritage Barometer 2020 to help heritage organisations consider the risks and opportunities of embracing technology.

The Ecclesiastical Heritage Barometer 2020 explores the top risks within the heritage sector and focuses in more detail on the digital risks facing heritage organisations. The Barometer presents the opportunities and challenges of using technology in the sector and provides case studies and best practice.

The Heritage Barometer is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer and heritage sector experts.

Research undertaken by the insurer identified lack of funding, increasing costs, and maintenance and repair of heritage buildings as the top three concerns for the sector in the short, medium and long-term.

A lack of digital skills in the sector is an increasing concern over time with less than one in three agreeing their heritage organisation has the skills to keep pace with changes driven by technology.

Top five short-term concerns (1 year)Top five long-term concerns (5 years)
  1. Lack of funding
  2. Increasing costs
  3. Maintaining and repairing heritage buildings
  4. Remaining relevant to new audiences
  5. Investing in the right technology for the future
  1. Lack of funding
  2. Increasing costs
  3. Maintaining and repairing heritage buildings
  4. Lack of digital skills
  5. Remaining relevant to new audiences

During the coronavirus lockdown, without physical visitors, heritage attractions have had to act fast to develop digital experiences to engage audiences. Certain parts of the sector have had to accelerate their adoption of technology in very challenging circumstances.

The Ecclesiastical Heritage Barometer 2020 found four in five respondents said technology is fundamental to the running of their organisations.

Improving the visitor experience and attracting new visitors were the top two areas where it was felt technology could have the biggest impact for the sector in the future.

Faith Kitchen, heritage director for Ecclesiastical, commented: “With over 130 years’ experience insuring the heritage sector, we believe our knowledge and insight into the management of issues that are impacting the sector can be of real value to heritage organisations. We believe the changes catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic present a unique opportunity for the heritage sector to embrace technology and use it to both reduce risk and enhance visitor experiences. We hope that the Ecclesiastical Heritage Barometer 2020 will encourage people to think about the risks and opportunities technology presents and will kick start the conversation about how best to protect their organisations for the future.”