The huge increase in cases has proven to be a ‘game changer’ for loss adjusting

Loss adjusting business Woodgate and Clark has reported a 2,300% increase in business interruption (BI) claims.

The surge represents Woodgate and Clark handling nearly 6,000 BI claims between March 2020 and February 2021, compared to 259 BI claims between February 2019 and March 2020.

Most of these new claims related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which gained a foothold in the UK in March 2020.

Julie Groves, head of the BI claims unit at Woodgate and Clark, said the huge increase in cases was a “game changer” for loss adjusting, driving significant changes to how the company navigated its way through such a steep increase in claims and providing the industry with plenty of learnings for the future.

She continued: “We have worked our way through 75% of the caseload and expect to have completed the majority of this process by the end of the summer.

“Dealing with this has been a massive challenge and an incredible learning experience for us all.”

SME struggle

Groves explained that the high profile of Covid-linked BI claims has led to much more involvement from lawyers than is typically the norm because “legal input has been an important factor in helping to apply the Supreme Court judgment to each policy”.

She said: “The Supreme Court judgment back in January was essential in breaking the logjam and now, following the publication in July of the declaration - a protocol between the FCA and the insurers which sets out how the Supreme Court judgment is interpreted - the industry has been able to clarify certain outstanding policy wordings, which will lead to more cases being settled.”

For Woodgate and Clark, the priority in dealing with BI claims has been helping SMEs because “they have less financial resilience than big corporations, [that] have their own insurance departments making claims all the time.” Therefore, “they have tended to need the money quickly and needed the most support”.

Groves added: “I am hugely proud of our adjusting team. We have shown how good our core BI claims proposition is by dealing successfully with a large volume of claims at a high level of competence.

“Some of our adjusters had not done a huge volume of BI before the crisis, so our BI knowledge massively increased and that is a good thing for everyone, especially as we’re not out of the Covid-19 woods yet.”