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Subsidence View - 30th April 2020

Welcome to the first "Subsidence View" for 2020. In this issue we take a retrospective look at subsidence numbers in 2019 and an early look at what 2020 has in store.
Last year...  According to the Association of British Insurers, 2019 saw 19500 claims – midway between the 23000 reported in the surge of 2018 and the 2015/2016/2017 3 years average of 14000. This increase was partly due to late notifications of damage caused in 2018, but also driven by a further summer/autumn upturn.
So what of 2020 so far...– The winter was wetter than average with significant rainfall causing clay soils affected by subsidence in 2018 and 2019 to rehydrate, returning the MORECS measure of soil moisture deficit to zero.  However, the UK subsequently received virtually nil rainfall during 6 weeks in March and April.


After a wet winter, could 2020 be the next subsidence surge...
Nothing can be ruled in or out at this stage. The surge of 2003 is a good precedent, as this also followed a prolonged wet winter. However, lower than average rainfall and an extended period of hot, dry weather between June and September will be the key deciding factors. 
What do the weather experts predict...
  • The Met Office is continuing their recent strategy of limiting their forecasts to 30 days ahead, so have not published a summer forecast.  
  • The Weather Outlook (TWO) summer forecast was issued 23/4/2020 and they commented that "Seasonal models on balance suggest above average temperatures and below average rainfall levels taken over the June, July and August period taken as a whole. At this stage a warmer than average summer including some significant hot periods is favoured. Lower confidence is attached to rainfall levels, but a drier than average summer is weakly favoured."
Our next edition of Subsidence View will include our first look at the MORECS measure of soil moisture deficit, plus an update on the likely subsidence surge risk for 2020.  
If you would like to talk to us about how Building Validation Solutions can help with your subsidence surge plan or you need help with your approach to subsidence claims generally due to the challenges of Covid 19, please don't hesitate to contact us.