"Climate change, as well as widening areas of property development and habitation, could substantially increase the chances of wildfires (and of related claims) in the UK"
With the number of wildfires reported in the UK during the Summer months on the increase (whether from poor land management by farmers, barbeques that get out of hand, discarded cigarette butts or delinquent teenagers looking to assuage holiday boredom levels), the threat of fire or smoke related damage to properties in affected areas (as well as the costly implications for insurance companies) has highlighted a growing need for brokers to protect their clients at all times of the year and to offer appropriate levels of cover, irrespective of the season.
Indeed, the need for this provision has been hammered home in the past week or so by the fires that have engulfed Saddleworth Moor (near Oldham) and Winter Hill (near Bolton) - conflagrations that have already destroyed nearly 5,000 acres of moorland and necessitated the deployment of firefighters from across seven counties (as well as a battalion of soldiers) in order to try and extinguish the blaze (currently covering almost seven square miles).
In addition, with more than 50 homes to the West of the Moorland having been evacuated as a result of “burning wall(s) of fire roll(ing) down the hill” (according to one resident) and smoke that was likened to “Mount Etna” (by another), the need to address the growing levels of risk to properties (and lives) from natural catastrophes within the insurance industry could become more pressing in the future.
Some experts have suggested that climate change, as well as widening areas of property development and habitation, could substantially increase the chances of wildfires (and of related claims) in the UK, thereby providing brokers with a real onus to identify and contact clients in potentially ‘high risk’ areas (anywhere close to moorland or woodland essentially) so as to ensure that they are fully covered (especially if the risk is considered high enough to affect premiums) and have taken appropriate steps to guard against fires.
In other words, brokers need to be both proactive and imaginative, informative and thorough. Because insurance is all about pre-empting the worst (whatever the circumstances).