Crawford has seen fire claims spike by 69 percent in the past month in the UK due to the recent extreme heat. Initial estimates put the total value of fire claims received in the period at £30 million, with the most severe claim activity occurring in the south-east, south-west and Midlands.
“Spikes like this are likely to become more common in the years ahead,”
warns David Damsell, from Crawford’s major and complex loss team.
Since 2010, the UK has recorded a steady decline in fire incidents in both dwellings (16 percent year-on-year on average) and commercial buildings, but the frequency of outdoor fires has increased.
“If the current trend continues, there is likely to be a rapid increase in fire claims caused by the exceptional heat and increased use of BBQs, resulting in damage to properties,”
Crawford has received more than 20 heath fire claims from the recent heatwave. Reserves have ranged between £1 million to £50 million, and subrogation is often difficult in the event of heath fires, Damsell notes.
Crawford last saw a spike in fire claim submissions (+40 percent) during the first national lockdown, driven by the increased use of electrical equipment in the home. The most recent weather-related peak came during the June 2018 heatwave.
The cost of living crisis may also drive increased fire claims as there is a possibility more fires are being started fraudulently with many people under considerable financial strain (fraudulent insurance claims rose 18 percent in the 2008 recession, according to the Association of British Insurers).
Damsell also warned the hot weather could lead to a surge in non-fire claims including floods due to the hardness of the ground preventing rainwater from being absorbed and dry fallen leaves and twigs blocking drains and water courses; subsidence from clay ground contracting in the dry heat and expanding when rain returns; and business interruption from transport link and supply chain disruption.
“Right now, our top priority is supporting those whose homes have been destroyed or are uninhabitable because of the fires,” says Damsell.
Crawford prides itself on having the technical expertise to support people when the worst happens. From providing alternative accommodation for people and pets to providing specialist support to help policyholders schedule lost contents, Crawford is there with the right team, the right technology, and the right processes to help people restore and rebuild.