Subsidence claims soar 140% following 2022 heatwaves

With the Met Office projecting hotter, drier summers in the future, heatwaves (such as the one we had this summer) are increasing the likelihood of soil shrinkage, creating downward movement in buildings located on vulnerable soils - or subsidence.

Related topics:  insurance
Warren Lewis
12th October 2022
subsidence 333

According to one insurance provider, this is already having an effect on the number of claims recorded for subsidence.

Data from a recent climate report from Dye & Durham, suggests that more than 5.76 million properties in Great Britain are today exposed to medium or high subsidence risk. This increases to approximately 6.64 million in the 2030s. Specifically, just over half a million more properties (547,317) could be at high exposure in the next 60 years, compared to today’s figures.

Allianz Commercial says that it has recorded a 140% increase in subsidence claims for September, calling the year-on-year change a “significant surge” and noted that parched clay soils (found mainly across the southeast of England) were the main culprit when it comes to subsidence. Drain or sewer leaks, which wash out granular soils, were a close second.

Allianz highlighted that specialist loss adjusters would check the property’s foundation and sub-soil, retrieve roots to identify the trees or shrubs that may be absorbing moisture, test or survey the water pressure in local drains or water mains; and monitor cracks and levels.

Identifying the source of subsidence will help determine the best remedy, with the loss adjuster advising on the most suitable repair to return an impacted building’s structural integrity, according to the insurer.

Rebecca Rogers, Allianz Commercial property claims head, explained: “Subsidence is different from other perils in that claims require more time and expertise to resolve.

“Investigations are often complex, involving many parties, but they are crucial in establishing the cause of the damage to then remove it, stabilise the building, and finally repair the property. Since the whole process can be time-consuming, early notification is crucial.”

More like this
Latest from Financial Reporter
Latest from Property Reporter
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 30,000 intermediaries and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.