How restoration is shaping up to be the focus for many in 2020

7th January 2020

As the majority of the UK workforce get back to full swing this week, the industry is looking ahead to 2020. So, what’s in store this year and how is Plastic Surgeon working with the insurance industry to reduce cost, drive sustainability and improve customer satisfaction in 2020 and beyond?

Repairing a fire damaged kitchen cupboard unit

A look back at 2019


In January 2019, we reported on the effects of the 2018 hot summer. As the cold weather set in, the legacy of the 2018 record breaking summer was felt with a surge in insurance claims due to subsidence.

An unbelievable 10,000 homes made claims after the intensity of the summer’s drought lead to subsidence. This was a reported cost to the industry of £64 million, and a huge 350% up on the previous quarter, adding pressure to an already stretched industry.

Head of Insurance at Plastic Surgeon, Chris Edwards comments: “We have been working with insurers over the course of 2019 to repair the damage caused by subsidence.The most frequent is that caused by soil shrinkage, which leads to cracks in brick, stone and lintels. Crumbling cracked or broken stone features can all be restored and flawlessly blended in with the original to create a lasting repair, our specialist finishers can then perfectly blend in the new area with the old, accurately colour matching the finish of the bricks”.

Escape of Water

Although in 2019 we did not experience the same catastrophic weather events as in 2018, damage caused by escape of water continues to be one of Plastic Surgeon’s top three claims – followed by accidental and fire damage.

Chris explains: Water leaks continue to be one of our top perils. As more homeowners opt for design features such as en-suite bathrooms, under floor heating and hidden pipework, leaks are becoming harder to spot, which leaves the potential for further damage.”.  

Accidental Damage

Accidental damage is one of our top three insurance claims accounting for 17% of all claims we receive.

These smaller claims can often be overlooked as insignificant, as they are low value, however as many insurers are still adopting a replacement first approach, costs and claim lifecycles could be reduced if they were to think a little more about their approach to the management of these types of claims. Over 2019 we have been working with our insurance clients in improving the process and have invested heavily in automation technology to enhance the management of low value accidental claims.

Chris continues: “The claims management process can sometimes be overcomplicated. By automating the process through the use of technology it reduces the amount of human interaction required and speeds everything up. Of course, a level of human interaction is always needed, but for lower value claims this is not as much of a necessity”.

So, what’s in store for 2020 and beyond?

The customer is king

According to research from global professional services firm Deloitte – compiled following a survey of 200 leading insurers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa –  expanding  customer expectations’ have been identified as the biggest challenge that insurance firms will face over the next three years.

Customers are the disruptive force in the insurance industry, increasingly searching for new ways to make their lives easier through streamlined claims processes. Leading business advisor PWC also reported that customers are increasingly demanding simplicity, transparency and speed.

Adds Chris: “Many of the insurance companies that we welcomed as new customers in 2019 – in addition to wanting to improve their sustainability credentials – are keen to work together to improve the claim lifecycle and customer satisfaction rating”.

The Deloitte report stated that 81% of insurers have firm plans in 2020 for a partnership or alliance in the marketplace.
More and more insurers are welcoming innovative partners to assist them in offering a unique service to their customers, and this is certainly where were see Plastic Surgeon adding increasing value over the course of 2020.

Escape of water claims continue to be a problem

The latest ‘Fitch’ report, released in November, predicts that: “Insurers will struggle to remain profitable in the home sector in 2020, with home cover providers likely to break even on their underwriting balance sheet, or even make a loss with escape of water continuing to be a source of high claims.

It’s an area we have been working closely with insurers on improving and assisting in reducing the cost of claims for escape of water perils. In a survey we conducted last year with our clients, we discovered that 57% find escape of water claims the most challenging.

Added Chris: “We are working with loss adjusters and the wider damage management industry to improve the way escape of water claims are managed.”

“We will attend a policy holders’ home alongside the loss adjuster to look at the damage and provide a report on what can be repaired and what needs to be replaced. This ensures that for large scale claims, we’re repairing every possible item, lessening the impact on the environment even further”.

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