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Summer Heat and the Surge in Subsidence Claims: Preparing for the Seasonal Spike

Summer’s rising temperatures are not just a matter of discomfort; they have significant implications for property insurers. Here, Gordan Vater, Managing Director — Technical takes a closer look at the factors continuing to drive this seasonal increase and shares some strategies insurers can adopt to effectively manage the increase in claims. 

The impact of rising temperatures 

The UK has experienced some of its hottest years on record in the past few decades, with seven of the ten hottest days occurring since 2000. This summer is projected to follow this trend and for the insurance industry, the correlation between heatwaves and subsidence claims is well-documented.  

Extreme heat causes soil to dry out and shrink, leading to ground contraction and shifting foundations. This is not a quick fix as often repairs and recommendations cannot go ahead while the ground is still moving. This makes subsidence a costly and time-consuming problem, with ground movement taking anywhere between nine months and two years to stabilise. At GB, we’ve been closely monitoring seasonal trends to make sure we are prepared and capable of supporting insurers and claimants through this period. For example, data highlights that certain regions in the UK are more prone to subsidence, including London, the South East and South West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside.  

For policyholders in these high-risk areas, early detection and prevention are critical. If insurers proactively provide educational resources about the importance of regular inspections, then detection of the early signs of subsidence is possible. Some early signs include:  

  • Diagonal cracks that widen at the top 
  • Cracks around windows and door openings 
  • Cracks extending to ground level 
  • Rucking of wallpaper in corners 
  • Sticking doors and windows 
  • Distortions in window and door frames 
  • Rotational cracks at junctions of extensions 
  • Seasonal opening and closing of cracks 

By identifying these signs early, policyholders can take pre-emptive action to mitigate damage, potentially reducing the severity and cost of claims. 

Partnering with Gallagher Bassett for effective claims management 

To prepare for the anticipated surge in subsidence claims, partnering with a reliable third-party Claims Administrator (TPA) like Gallagher Bassett offers several benefits. Our team of experienced professionals combined with advanced technology capabilities can streamline the claims process, ensuring efficient and effective management of these complex cases. 

Some of the keys to the successful resolution of claims include:  

  • Enhanced Catastrophic Planning: By testing and verifying catastrophe plans, we ensure that our clients are prepared for any eventuality. 
  • Resource Evaluation: We provide support for talent acquisition and retention, helping to alleviate pressures from burnout and ensuring teams are adequately resourced. 
  • Educational Support: We work with insurers to educate policyholders on early signs of subsidence and preventive measures. 

By aligning with forward-thinking partners and utilising advanced technology, insurers can better manage the increased volume of claims and adhere to evolving regulatory requirements. 

For more information on how Gallagher Bassett can support you during this summer and resolve potential claims bottlenecks, contact us today. Together, we can navigate the challenges posed by a changing climate. 

Gordon Vater

Managing Director — Gallagher Bassett Technical

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