A popular seasonal recipe for home insurance disasters goes something like this: take national fright about soaring gas and electricity bills. Stir in thermostat rationing based on fuel bill concerns and a serving of post-pandemic desire to get together with friends and family this Christmas. Finally, pop both into the freezer. Give it 48 hours and you have a classic burst pipe surge with all the trimmings. Or in headline, get ready for escape of water time.
A record-breaking mild November has prolonged the desire to keep the heating off or down and so ward off the equally record-breaking utility bills. This is good in many respects until families and friends go a-avisiting (or even more dangerous, seeking winter sun or snow) and the temperature drops suddenly. A huge percentage of people will leave their homes for more than 24 hours this year and what will they do differently? Turn their heating off to save the pennies, leaving their pipes vulnerable to the worst of all home insurance disasters.
It is common in the industry to recognise that escape of water is often worse than fire because passers-by and neighbours notice a fire very quickly. Often in EOW, a burst pipe can destroy the whole of the inside of a house and its contents from the inside… and invisibly to the outside.
According to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), insurers pay out £1.8 million every day in the UK for water damage claims. This however is often an average with a huge concentration around times of very rapid temperature drops. Just like the one about to occur in the UK in mid-December 2022!
So, is there anything that insurers can do to help their policyholders and reduce the number of EoW claims? Yes. And it relies on two factors: technology and customer connectivity. Insurers with the right digital tools have the power to alert individual customers when air temperatures are forecast to go below five degrees Celsius by email and text. This can be rolled out on a regional basis or even down to small areas when local climate and geography is taken into account.
No-one ever annoyed a policyholder by prewarning them and arming them with ‘news they can use’. So here are four tips you can give policyholders before the festive season that may just save them from a wet Christmas. It might be a thankless task because they’ll never know if your winter tips alert saved them from flooding, but they’ll appreciate it none the less.
- Keep the heat on trickle whenever you leave the house for more than 8 hours.
It doesn’t have to be the usual temperature, just high enough that warm water is flowing through the system when the outside temperature nears zero.
- Insulate your pipes
This might be trickier than leaving your heating on, but it’s often just one or two pipes that are vulnerable to the falling temperatures. Insulating them will give you the best chance of staying dry.
- Plug the gaps
Drafts and open windows can be the difference between a pipe bursting and one that keeps its extremities intact.
- Keep cupboard and cabinet doors open, don’t turn off radiators in unused rooms
This may sound insignificant but opening cupboard doors and leaving them open to allow warm air to circulate in vulnerable areas may just be enough to prevent pipes from freezing.
Seeing that the average cost of a burst pipe claim in the UK is circa £15K in 2022, any preventative measures and tips should be welcomed.
But whilst there are things that policyholders can do to prevent EoW, there are also things insurers can do to help manage the inevitable surge in EoW claims during Christmas and New Year…having the right technology is paramount to quickly and efficiently settling claims that ends in a satisfied customer and that is likely to renew when the time comes.
360Globalnet’s multi-award-winning digital claims platform is the sponge some of the worlds leading insurers rely on during EoW surges. Why? Not only can the technology alert policyholders with tips such as the ones above; not only can claims handlers quickly deploy unique and easy EoW claims journeys online; not only can our With You in 5 (WYi5) service provide you with more eyes on more claims, but we also provide the technology that enables adjusters to live-stream with policyholders to inspect the damage – multiple times visits per day saving thousands of driven miles and making claims management exponentially faster and more efficient.
If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today.