Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 03 Apr 2023
6 Claims Trends in 2023
As we continue to navigate through the ever-changing nature of claims, Griffiths & Armour Claims Division Director, Andrew Taylor, discusses some of the key issues and current challenges in relation to increasing claims costs and the potential impact on your firm.
We have seen claims inflation rise significantly in a relatively short period of time due to a number of factors. Inflationary trends result in increased costs due to the price of raw materials, disruption to supply chains and rising costs for professional services.
The construction industry has been tested due to a shortage of skilled labour, costs of raw materials increasing and contractors prioritising more profitable jobs rather than work for insurers. This has led to delays in works being completed. Coupled with weather-related claims and soaring rebuild costs, this has marked a difficult period for property claims.
This in turn can lead to more significant business interruption claims and apply more pressure on clients who have shorter indemnity periods. Inflation can also lead to undervaluation of insured assets which can result in settlement issues in the event of a claim occurring.
Global supply chain issues have led to a reduction in the number of new vehicles and long delays for those new vehicles making prices rise, this in turn has made the value of used vehicles increase dramatically. Motor claims have also been affected by claims inflation with repair costs, lack of skilled workers and reduced capacity in bodyshops. This has meant less availability of courtesy cars, in addition many of the major hire companies sold considerable parts of their fleets during Covid and this reduction in capacity along with longer repairs times has led to more people turning to credit hire which is of course far more expensive for insurers. The popularity of electric vehicles has increased costs, meaning bodyshops will need to adapt which could mean further shortages of skilled technicians, ultimately leading to those trained technicians commanding higher salaries that will, in the long run, add to the cost of repairs.
The introduction of new rules for trading with other countries created supply chain disruption for many businesses and increased costs. Many skilled workers have left the UK seeking more attractive employment opportunities in other countries. In some cases, EU nationals have been unable to return due to changes in immigration laws.
Ongoing war in Ukraine
Aside from the human tragedies, the war in Ukraine has contributed towards claims inflation and supply chain problems. Many car manufacturers had vehicle components produced in Ukraine and have had to find alternative companies to produce those parts resulting in limited availability which, alongside a number of car plants shutting across Europe, has made for long delays.
Increasing expertise and scale have made Cyber-attacks far more frequent and the results far more damaging. The Government’s Cyber security breaches survey 2022 states that 39% of all UK businesses identified some form of Cyber-attack. Phishing attacks and impersonating the organisation along with viruses, spyware or malware are the most commonly reported threats. Loss of access to networks even temporarily can cause major disruption to businesses and the time and cost taken to resolve issues can quickly mount up even before factoring in additional measures to protect your business from future attacks/breaches. We discuss Cyber Insurance in more detail here.
We are seeing more severe and more frequent catastrophic weather events, such as Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin which caused major disruption to the UK. This combined with the changing regulation to reduce climate change will also put pressure on insurers. Construction of new buildings on flood plains has also increased costs for insurers. Many modern methods of construction can also take longer to complete.
As more businesses and individuals find themselves under financial pressure this inevitably leads to more fraud claims. Businesses can be exposed to potential fraud in a variety of ways, such as organised crime gangs, who often target motor vehicles that carry company logos and thereafter submit inflated invoices for hire vehicles and whiplash. We have also seen exaggerated claims for whiplash with many claims now alleging injuries to arms and legs along with psychological damage. With the cost of living crisis and pressures on many households fraudulent claims against businesses for personal injury either from employees or members of the public are steadily increasing and most likely to continue to do so. Fraud can occur for accidental damage/loss or theft of items being reported to insurers, this can involve inflating the value of items or submitting claims for additional items that haven’t been lost, damaged or stolen.
What can I do to protect my business?
- Monitor and adjust your sums insured
- Ensure your business interruption indemnity period is adequate
- Notify claims as soon as possible to allow insurers to assist in containing costs and mitigating delays
- Give consideration to alternate methods of repair/reinstatement
- Ensure you work closely with your risk management provider to ensure the correct measures are in place
If you have any questions about the contents of this article or queries about claims management, please get in touch with your usual Griffiths & Armour contact or click below to submit your query.