Home insurer Royal & SunAlliance has re-structured its panel of subsidence experts after reviewing the way it handles claims.

In a radical change, the insurer, which paid £150m on subsidence claims in 1998, has reduced the number of companies that process its claims from 400 to 45.

The new network will include consultant engineers, contractors, specialist laboratories and relocation services and is supposed to reduce costs by 30%.

Tony Boobier, subsidence programme director at RSA, said: "Homeowners really do get that sinking feeling when they see a crack in their wall. They believe the problem will take years to solve, involve large amounts of money and lots of different people. Frankly, they see nothing but hassle."

Boobier adds: "Traditionally, customers have had to deal individually with up to seven or eight different organisations. Our new streamlined approach enables us to put together a single package managed directly by RSA to fit the specific needs of each customer."

To underscore its new radical approach RSA has appointed subsidence arboriculturist Gillian Glanville. She will be responsible for working with the network of specialists to help policyholders prevent damage caused by vegetation and trees. The latter account for 75% of all subsidence claims.

Royal & SunAlliance will also be organising a series of subsidence roadshows across the country this summer.