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Subsidence View - June 2016

Subsidence View: June 2016

Welcome to first "Subsidence View" for 2016. In this issue we take a retrospective look at subsidence numbers in 2015 and take an early look at what 2016 has in store.
Last year? – 2015 was generally regarded as a "near miss" in terms of a large uplift in subsidence claim numbers. With only 70% of spring rainfall in the clay soil areas of the south east, followed by record temperatures in July, the insurance industry was gearing up for a significant increase in subsidence claims for the first time since 2006. A wet and cold August brought properties back from the brink, with the MORECS soil moisture deficit reducing significantly. Eventually 16,200 claims were reported to the market, considerably less than the previous 3 year average of 20,000.

So what of 2016? – The winter brought some of the stormiest and wettest weather ever recorded in some parts of the UK. However, interestingly, the clay areas of southeast England experienced rainfall much closer to average.
It is now 10 years since the UK insurance industry experienced a significant and costly surge of subsidence claims, so could 2016 be the next one? Well history has shown what has gone so far will have little relevance to the final subsidence numbers we will see in 2016. The surge of 2003 followed a prolonged wet and cold winter, whereas dry winters have been followed by summers which have yielded much lower claim numbers. What we do know is that an extended period of exceptionally hot, dry weather between June and September, particularly in the clay soil areas of the south east, will be the deciding factor.
So what does the summer weather look like?
  • The Met Office are continuing their recent strategy of limiting their forecasts to 30 days ahead. Following a hot/dry start June becomes "rather unsettled through the middle part" and concludes by saying "warmer conditions may then develop later in the period, perhaps becoming very warm at times in the south". For more details see
  • The Weather Outlook (TWO) have been much bolder and issued their first forecast for June, July and August. Their early view "is for a warmer than average summer with close to average rainfall" and "if the forecast is correct August will bring the best conditions". For more details see:
  • If the TWO forecast became reality, this could mean a significant increase in claim volumes compared to 2015 when wet August weather kept numbers low.
Our next edition of Subsidence View will be published in July and will include our first look at the MORECS measure of soil moisture deficit, plus an update on the likely subsidence surge risk for 2016.
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 contact Giles Carter on