We were interested to read a recent article in Post Magazine commenting on how calm the UK weather has been this year and the past nine years, and that insurers must make sure they are ready for the next major event.
Recent figures released by the Association of British Insurers that showed weather claims caused by flood damage totaled £13m in the first half of 2015 – the lowest amount since the first half of 2006.
Jon Dye CEO, Allianz UK commented: "Good fortune is exactly what it is, the ABI have drawn attention to the unpredictable nature of the weather in the UK and the need to focus on the long term."
He continued: "October provides an excellent reminder of just how savagely unpredictable the UK's weather can be – and also how expensive. For example, the Great Storm of 1987 hit the UK on 15 and 16 October with the strongest gust of wind recorded at 120mph."
That particular storm caused widespread damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. Insurers' claims teams were under intense pressure from handling the sheer volume of customers reporting damage to their property. The final cost to the insurance industry was £1.2bn – the equivalent of more than £3bn if the storm was to happen today.
With winter approaching, and the unpredictability of the British weather, it is useful to ask if a major weather incident like 'The Great Storm' of 1987 was to happen tomorrow, would insurers be prepared? Would the level of customer service fall short? Would they have the right team in place to ensure elapsed times and costs didn't spiral out of control.
Chris Brown, managing director at BVS commented:
"Jon is quite right in his concern for the insurance industry. Many suppliers will have become complacent due to this years relatively calm weather.
"Dealing with claims during surge conditions is very challenging but something that BVS has used as an opportunity to learn from. Between December 2013 and February 2014 the insurance industry was hit by a sustained period of winter storms, a total of 12 separate windstorms affected Europe during this period.
"As a result of this very challenging period – and learning from our experiences during this time – BVS set out to make changes to our offering that would ensure: normal service levels were maintained, that capacity was managed more effectively, and that the customer was provided with choice.
"Working in partnership with our insurer clients and their customers we have continued with the roll out of our 'self service surveyor' booking, and have developed a 'self survey' solution that the policyholder can use to survey their own claim, these new products enable the policy holder to be involved in their claim and provides them with choice, which has resulted in a more seamless process.
"By providing our clients with complete real time visibility through our client portal – including information such as: how long it will be until we can contact the insured; how long until we can visit the insured – we enable insurers to mange customer expectations during what is a very challenging time".
Concluded Chris: "In my view many suppliers are generally very reluctant to share performance data during surge periods for fear of losing work, however, BVS think very much the opposite providing complete transparency throughout, resulting in more satisfied customers."