Last summer, after the driest June on record since 1925, and the blistering hot days of July, all preceded by relatively low levels of winter rainfall, insurance companies experienced a 300% surge of subsidence claims. With relatively low levels of autumn 2018 and winter 2019 rainfall there is a very real prospect of the subsidence surge continuing through this year.

Subsidence in the 21st Century is mainly caused by roots from nearby trees abstracting moisture from beneath building foundations, thereby shrinking the soil and causing cracks to appear on walls and ceilings.

The insurance industry, without the army of experts it once had to deal with volume subsidence claims, is failing to cope, with some legitimate claims being rejected because of inexperienced claims handlers.

The years between 1976 and 2006 proved to be a very steep learning curve on the causes, management and remedies of subsidence damage, but many of the adjusters, assessors and engineers who gained their spurs over that period have now retired or moved on. Over the last decade household insurers, with a keen eye to cost control, have developed a one-size fits all approach, outsourcing subsidence claim-handling to algorithm strategists with a philosophy of removing all trees and plants, and patch repairing by low-rate contractors. Unfortunately, many policyholders who had patch repairs imposed on them have found they have recurring subsidence, and yet another claim.

If you detect fresh internal or external cracks, particularly if vertical or diagonal and close to windows or doors, then you should seek professional advice before notifying a claim.

BSN is one of a select few claims companies with the expertise and strategy for holding insurance companies to account in their management of subsidence claims. If you think you may have a subsidence problem call for a free initial telephone consultation.

a brick wall showing significant subsidence cracks requiring insurance claim