A new approach to dealing with fire and soot damage

31st October 2019

Damage caused by fire and soot is one of the most expensive property insurance claims many insurers have to deal with, according to the ABI £1.3 billion was paid out to customers last year.

The average cost of a claim involving fires has also increased by a third in two years and now accounts for nearly one quarter of total claim costs.

Leading restoration company to the insurance industry Plastic Surgeon, recently won an award for the work they are doing with insurers in educating the industry on the benefits of a restoration approach, not only due to its sustainability and environmental credentials, but, because of the huge cost savings it provides.

Head of Insurance at Plastic Surgeon Chris Edwards explains: “We see a variety of damaged items in properties caused by fire.  Soot damage is one of the most prolific, as, it can often be perceived as unrestorable”.

Promoting sustainable claims management

In July the company carried out a survey with insurers across the country.  The results were astounding, with only 36% of insurers stating that a restoration approach is considered as a first option when dealing with claims and 79% declaring that they are not managing claims in the most sustainable way.

Plastic Surgeon states that only a small percentage of the fire damaged items they see are beyond restoration, and if, insurers were to instruct a specialist restoration company to work alongside them at the beginning of the claim, these items would be identified early reducing the need for replacement.

Soot damage tends to affect, kitchen units, work tops and sanitary wear”.  Continued Chris:

“Many loss adjusters will automatically recommend, for example for a new kitchen to be installed as a result of soot damage, as they will deem it unrepairable.

“This may be mainly down to the fact that the kitchen is particularly dated, and new parts may be unavailable.

“The work that our finishers can carry out with smoke damaged units is remarkable.  They take items back to their original state, quickly and effectively, at a fifth of the cost of replacement, resulting in a reduction of the claim lifecycle by about a tenth”.

“We can work alongside loss adjusters, surveyors and claims teams to assess damaged properties and put an appropriate programme of works together. We are also able to provide a one stop solution, managing the entire claims process and, where required instructing our clients larger supply chain”.

Following the results of the survey, Plastic Surgeon is working with claims teams and industry loss adjusters, to inform and advise on restoration and the processes and options available to the industry, to further communicate the restoration message.

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