The MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit currently lies 4 weeks ahead of the two significant surge years of 2003 and 2018.The current Subsidence Surge Risk is now assessed as "Mid Amber", but will 2019 develop into a full blown "double surge" event year...
Surge Risk - Mid Amber
According to the latest Met Office data, rainfall in the clay soil areas of the South East, Midlands and Yorkshire has been below average across the winter and spring 2019.
Driven by the dry winter and spring, the MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit took another significant step upwards, remaining high for the time of year. It is currently lying 4 weeks ahead of the two significant surge years of 2003 and 2018 and most closelytracking 2006 (and also 2012).
So does the elevated MORECS mean there will be another large surge of claims to follow 2018– a "double surge" similar to 1995/1996...
Well, all the recent surge events were triggered by record breaking temperatures in either June, July or August. In 2006, the maximum MORECS was reached quickly with surge claim volumes peaking in August. However, from the same position in 2012 the weather was cool and wet and whilst the UK enjoyed some sunshine during the London Olympics there was certainly no surge.
The Met Office and BBC are both continuing their recent strategies of limiting their forecasts to 30 days ahead. The BBC forecast to 3rd July indicates:
an unsettled start to June, with more settled conditions expected later, although showers and average temperatures are likely to prevail, especially in the south.
However, forecast confidence is "generally low" through this period.
The Weather Outlook (TWO) have been much bolder and issued their first forecast for June, July and August. The headline is for:
"...a summer with above average temperatures is thought probable. The signal for rainfall is weak, but it is slightly in favour of drier than average conditions over the three month period".
The likelihood of an early start to any upturn (similar to 2006) is still very real, although the short term forecast suggests the heatwave conditions required to trigger this will not occur in June. However, the surge risk remains and is currently assessed as "Mid Amber". At this stage, our prediction for 2019 is for ABI claim numbers to be higher than the 2015/16/17 three year average of 16,000 and we recommend that insurers review their surge response plans and remain vigilant, as any upturn could arrive very quickly.