Summertime sadness: 2022 heatwave leaves insurers with £219bn subsidence bill
Insurers are set to pay out £219m to Brits whose houses sunk into the ground due to the heatwave last year, new figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show.
The summer heatwave, which saw temperatures in the Lincolnshire town on Coningsby hit record highs of 40.3 degrees Celsius, led to a surge in subsidence claims that hit the industry’s bottom lines.
UK insurers were hit with a total of 23,000 subsidence claims throughout 2022, including 18,000 after the summer heatwave, the ABI figures show.
For comparison, the UK insurance sector saw just 18,000 subsidence claims in 2020 and just 15,000 in 2021, data from Swiss insurer Zurich shows.
The heatwave saw a new subsidence claim filed every fifteen minutes in the second half of 2022, with each claim costing an average sum of £9,600.
This saw Britain’s insurance companies hit with £219m worth of subsidence claims over 2022, the highest annual sum since the European heatwave of 2006.
The 2006 heatwave saw temperatures hit highs of 35.7C in the village of Wisley in Surrey leading to droughts throughout Britain.
Heatwaves cause subsidence by drying out the soil below peoples houses, causing their foundations to sink into the ground.
ABI exec Laura Hughes said: “Thousands of homeowners felt the impact of last summer’s record-breaking heatwave long after temperatures returned to normal.”
“They have, and will continue to, support their customers during any monitoring period to ascertain the extent of the damage, and what repairs or work will be needed for a long-term solution,” Hughes said.
Inflation throughout the UK economy has driven up the costs insurance companies face in fixing houses and fulfilling claims.