The MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit currently lies at the same position as the 2018 surge year and ahead of the 2003 surge year. The current Subsidence Surge Risk is assessed as "Rising Amber", but will 2019 develop into a full blown "double surge" event year...
Surge Risk - Rising Amber
Rainfall in the clay soil areas of the South East was above in June. However, the majority of this rain fell during early June, with a return to below average rainfall for almost 5 weeks to 19th July. In addition, the late July heatwave saw the UK's highest-ever temperature being officially recorded in Cambridge, beating the previous record set in the surge year of 2003. So whilst there has been some rainfall this will have had little impact in addressing the below average figures recorded across the winter and spring 2019.
However, others areas of the country have experienced much higher rainfall with flash flooding in several areas of the north of England following torrential downpours.
The MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit (measured at square 161 in the southeast) lies at approximately the same position as the 2018 surge year and ahead of the 2003 surge year.
So does the elevated MORECS mean there will be another large surge of claims to follow 2018– a "double surge" similar to 1995/1996...
This is still a real possibility, but previous experience tells us that whilst an extended period of dry weather before summer can prime and increase the amplitude of summer claim numbers, the primary cause of a surge is an extended period of exceptionally hot and dry weather between June and September.
So what does the August weather look like...
The Met Office and BBC are both continuing their recent strategies of limiting their forecasts to 30 days ahead.
The deciding factor on the size of claims uplift will be what actually happens next, another heatwave, normal summer weather or a prolonged period of rain... On this basis, the surge risk remains and is currently assessed as "Rising Amber". However, the weather patterns year to date in the Midlands and North of England are significantly different to 2018, so we consider the most likely outcome is a larger than average seasonal upturn centred towards the south east of England, rather than a full blown national surge. Our prediction for 2019 is for ABI claim numbers to be higher than the 2015/16/17 three year "business as usual" average of 16,000. We recommend that insurers continue to review their surge response plans and remain vigilant, as any upturn could arrive very quickly.
If you would like to talk to us about how Building Validation Solutions can help with your subsidence surge plan or improve you approach to subsidence claims generally, please don't hesitate to contact us.