Be prepared for Autumn with help from our claims experts

With Autumn in full swing and the blusterier weather setting in, it’s important to stop and reflect on how prepared your business is for the changing seasons. Effective risk management is of course key in preventing potential claims, but knowing what to do when an incident does occur can help to mitigate further losses and set your claim up for success.

As part of our claims spotlight series, we asked our claims experts how best to improve procedures and processes in relation to common autumnal perils.

Escape of Water

The colder months can reveal problems with water systems such as issues with cracked or burst pipes. Our Desk Property Surveyor, Neil Kellaway explains further with some information on how to approach these types of claims:

“For the commercial properties we insure, escape of water claims are the largest type of claim we manage by volume, with a 15% increase in volume this year when comparing this with 2020 figures. Also the costs of these types of claims has risen by 7% since 2019.*

Whilst weather related events are a common culprit, we’ve also seen a correlation between the dramatic increase in unoccupied properties as a result of the pandemic and also escape of water claims. For trades impacted by covid and where buildings/premises were therefore empty during this period, there was opportunity for damage to be left to get worse until the lockdown eased, and in some cases, this continues to be a problem.

When it comes to unoccupancy, it’s important to check your policy conditions are being adhered to, to help ensure full cover would be provided should the worst happen.

What’s really key with these types of claims is the First Notification of Loss (FNOL) process and providing us with as much information as possible at this stage, or if you’re a broker, by connecting us to your client so that we can help them directly. We have more information on the types of questions we’ll ask you or your clients in this guide.

Try to provide us with photographs of the damage to the property as a result of the leak, room dimensions, and any estimates for repair work being carried out that they might have to hand. If the property needs to be dried out, we’re on hand to arrange for one of our suppliers to help.

It’s useful to know how the you would like us to fulfil the claim and which services you would prefer, for example we can appoint one of our trusted contractors or we can provide a cash settlement so the you can make your own arrangements.

It’s important to note that once an escape of water incident happens, there’s an increased risk of more claims because of a potentially weakened water system. So it’s a good idea to review your risk management plans, carry out regular maintenance checks depending on your risk consultant’s recommendations, or consider installing a leak detection device. We have further help on escape of water prevention and risk management on our website.

At Aviva, we have invested in new technology which enables us to manage the claim virtually through video calls via our desk surveying team. More recently we have built and recruited a UK wide team of qualified and experienced major and complex loss adjusters and commercial field property consultants who are Aviva employed. The team are boots on the ground after a loss to be by your side. They’ll have excellent knowledge of your policy cover and are there to get businesses back up and trading as soon as possible.”

Slips, Trips and Falls

The combination of wetter weather and fallen leaves can increase the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Here’s some advice from our Technical Liability Claims Manager, Sharon Sykes on what to do should an incident occur:

“Please tell us about any slip or trip incidents which you feel may give rise to a claim, even if this is just for information purposes. Our claims team can review the details of what’s happened and if needs be do some behind the scenes investigation work to preserve any evidence should a formal claim follow. Any claims submitted for information only will be reviewed and depending on the severity of the injury a reserve may be added to the claim.

An issue that we often see with this peril is the client entering the details in the accident book but not retaining the CCTV footage of the fall. This is critical evidence but as claims often take a while to reach us, sometimes the footage is deleted after 30 days, so keeping record of this is really useful should a claim come in.

When a formal claim is submitted it’s important, we act fast in making a decision on liability. We can investigate the claim virtually if we have access to the right people at your business, such as decision makers, key or witnesses. This also helps the claim stick to portal timelines, which keeps any potential solicitor costs down.

Please route all property claims through the Perth claims team, our claims experts are available 24/7 365 days year. Feel free to call the team and discuss the best route for the claim.”

In case you missed it, check out our Autumn Risk Bulletin.

*Source: Aviva Claims Data 2021