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Exeter University to pay for damages caused by WW2 bomb found under student accommodation

The insurer deemed the controlled explosion as ‘an act of war’


University of Exeter has lost its appeal to get an insurance payout to pay for damages caused by the controlled detonation of a World War Two bomb.

The unexploded Nazi bomb was found under university owned accommodation, Birks Grange Village in February 2021.

The university is now required to pay for damages caused to several university buildings, including halls of residence by the 1,000kg WWII German Bomb, BBC reports.

Army bomb disposal experts and emergency response personnel were called in February 2021, after a 1,000kg WWII German Bomb was discovered during building work next to Birks Grange Village.

The controlled detonation took place on 27th February 2021, after 1,400 Exeter University students were evacuated from their accommodation at the time.

A spokesperson for The Ministry of Defence at the time had mentioned there were fears the “Hermann” bomb had been booby-trapped by German soldiers of the time therefore, it was not safe to move the bomb and it had to have been carefully detonated so as to avoid further damages.

The blast created by the bomb threw debris at least 800ft and left damages the size of a double-decker bus in the ground.

Nearby houses were left with structural damages and students were temporarily rehoused due to fears of the damages caused by the bomb to Exeter Uni accommodation. It was following this detonation that Exeter University submitted a claim to their insurance providers at Allianz for “business interruption”.

The University of Exeter claimed under its insurance with Allianz both for physical damage and for costs related to the temporary rehousing of students. However, Allianz has refused to pay out under its “war exclusion” policy.

The University of Exeter since took Allianz to the Court of Appeal but judges rejected Exeter’s claim that the exemption should not apply to conflicts within history, and the ruling states that the passage of time made no change to the war exclusion case.

This month, the court has ruled that Allianz is within its rights not to pay for student hall damage caused by detonation of the Hermann bomb, following a previous High Court appeal The University of Exeter lost in March which saw the judge side with Allianz.

The university said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed by the outcome of the appeal hearing. The university believes this was a legitimate insurance claim for damage caused by an incident off site and outside any control. However, we will accept the judgment.”