’There is a particular issue with the lithium-ion batteries at the moment,’ says head of fraud and financial

E-scooters “probably won’t be around much longer” due to them being “easily misused” and the risk of battery fires.

That was according to Laura Horrocks, head of fraud technology and intelligence at Sedgwick, who said bans over the form of transport could go ahead across the UK due to there being a “lack of control”.

This came after Coventry City Council unveiled plans in September to prohibit the use of e-scooters in the pedestrianised area of the town centre.

During the month, Paris also decided to introduce a ban on self-service rental e-scooters after people living in the French capital city voted against them.

Horrocks said during Insurance Times’ latest Fraud Charter earlier this year (19 September 2023) that the “ease of access” to them in the UK “meant they are so easily misused”.

“This ban is likely to be repeated in other areas,” she added.

“And then the additional challenges faced in terms of an increase of lithium battery fires increase the risk of injury to pedestrians.

“That complete lack of control means that they probably won’t be around all that much longer.”

Fire risk

Last year (18 August 2023), Axa UK revealed that two large claims associated with lithium-ion batteries in an e-scooter and bike resulted in a loss of almost half a million pounds.

As a result, the insurer warned the insurance industry and consumers that there was a significant fire risk caused by these batteries being damaged, over-charged or exposed to extreme temperatures.

During the Fraud Charter, Mark Allen, the ABI’s head of fraud and financial, said fire risks that lithium-ion batteries presented were causing “real concern”.

“There is a particular issue with the lithium-ion batteries at the moment,” he continued.

“And there is real concern over a lot of the e-scooters that are being sold online.”

In its warning last year, Axa UK’s director of customer risk management Dougie Barnett said fire safety “should be the top priority when it comes to charging and storing e-bikes and scooters”.

“As an insurer, we’re there for people when the worst happens, but we want to make sure these risks are managed and reduced so they can avoid the devastating consequences of a fire in their homes or business,” he added.