Valuable role of insurance sector highlighted by industry’s quick response to the 2011 riots - ABI

The rising risk of surge events, such as storms and floods, will increasingly put the industry’s reputation on the line, the ABI has warned today.

Speaking at the British Damage Management Association conference, ABI policy adviser on property Mark Shepherd said reputations could “easily” be lost if insurers and their supply chains did not get it right when it mattered.

“In particular, how the industry responds to surge events like flooding and storms is the true test of how customers, the government and the media view us,” he added.

“Events like the recent St Jude storm and the major flooding in 2012 must highlight how valuable a role insurance plays in people’s lives and society.

“But they also present a challenge in dealing with a large number of claims under intense scrutiny from the media and politicians. Getting it right and going the extra mile to help customers when it matters should not just be an aspiration but the mantra for our industry.”

He highlighted the August 2011 riots as an example of the industry’s quick response to major events, but added the failings of the Riot Damages Act made the situation worse for thousands of affected property owners.

The unprecedented scale of the riots prompted the Home Office to launch a review into the Riot Damages Act, which has recommended insurers should only be able to claim back payouts to businesses with a turnover of under £2m.