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Subsidence View - September 2015

Subsidence View: Issue 4 September 2015

As the school holidays started, the insurance market was on heightened alert for a potential subsidence surge in 2015. August weather was set to be pivotal in dictating the magnitude of summer/autumn claim numbers, so what is the situation now?
Summer 2015 weather has been very mixed across the UK. Several months of below average rainfall and record breaking temperatures in early July were replaced by cooler and wetter conditions in late July and this continued into August.  In the significant clay soil areas, August rainfall was 174% of average in the south east and 109% in central England, with localised flash floods reported in some places. Temperatures were close to average and as a result the MORECS measure of Soil Moisture Deficit - which was tracking close to the surge year of 2003 at the end of July - has fallen sharply. 
The Met Office Chief Scientist Professor Dame Julia Slingo OBE FRS reflected on this summer's weather in her latest blog commenting that "seasonal forecasts for this summer suggested that temperatures and rainfall would be near normal. However, as the season progressed all the leading models around the world failed to capture the signal for unsettled weather over the UK".
See for more details, including the impact of both "El Nino" and the "Spanish Plume".

September Forecasts?
The weather in September looks set to be much more settled than the previous 4 weeks.
The Met Office Outlook for Monday 7 Sep 2015 to Wednesday 16 Sep 2015 notes: "… the settled conditions should become established across all parts, with some cool misty starts followed by dry and fine days. Temperatures will be close to normal and it will feel pleasantly warm in the sunshine and gradually trend upwards…"

The Met Office Outlook for Thursday 17 Sep 2015 to Thursday 1 Oct 2015 notes: "…a trend towards a northwest, southeast split, with the southeast holding on to the best of the drier weather, although with occasional unsettled spells developing here, while the northwest sees more regular outbreaks of rain and strong winds. Temperatures will be generally close to average…by the end of the month there is a small chance of some more settled warmer conditions becoming established again".

The Weather Network say that: "September looks likely to see high pressure dominating at times, bringing much of the UK some dry and settled weather… There will still be some unsettled weather, particularly across north-western areas later in the month, but overall September is shaping up to be drier than average".
Claim numbers prediction
The surge risk has now passed, although we still expect a modest upturn in summer/autumn claim numbers relative to the first 6 months of 2015. Final numbers will be dependent on rainfall and temperatures during the remainder of the growing season in September. Our current prediction for 2015 is that ABI claim numbers will be within the range of the previous 3 year average of 18-23,000.

Building Validation Solutions are developing a new and innovative approach to handling subsidence claims. If you would like to talk to us about how we could make a difference for you and your customers, please contact:

Giles Carter at