26th November 2020
Since the 1980s UK Building Regulations have required that new homes are constructed with insulation material within the external wall cavity. Supported by various Government initiatives and grants from energy companies, and with an increasing desire for energy efficiency, the 1990s saw new industries emerge that allowed older properties to be retrofitted with insulation materials injected into the wall cavity through drilled holes.
Where this installation work was done poorly, or properties were not suitable for such installation, they can go on to suffer from internal damp, resulting in legitimate claims against the installation contractor and their liability insurer.
Our team of Casualty Adjusters has built a wealth of knowledge of cavity wall insulation (CWI) claims over many years from working alongside defendant lawyers and experts. We have guided the development of CWI claim handling strategies for numerous clients. We have received very positive feedback from our clients for our rigorous assessment of such claims and the robustness of our responses to Claimant lawyers most of whom we have become familiar with and the tactics they employ.
More than 99% of CWI claims handled by our Casualty Adjusters for a variety of clients and their policyholders have been successfully defended and resulted in a repudiation of the claim without payment of compensatory damages or lawyer costs.
CWI liability claim handlers face a multitude of issues with investigations. The installer policyholder may have ceased trading and former employees and directors of the policyholder are often uncooperative or uninterested – meaning the handler needs to make enquiries with Liquidators, Brokers, or other publicly accessible data.
Letters of Claim submitted by Claimant lawyers are typically vague and lacking details. The evidence arising from the inspection of affected properties (by their preferred surveyors) are often misleading, far from impartial, or by parties whose expert credentials would not stand up to scrutiny in court. On a case–by–case basis, an in depth review of policy coverage, interpretation of policy wordings, and exposures of concurrent policy years is required. Causation and limitation issues must also be explored, alongside fraud, exaggeration and betterment issues.
Claims for poorly installed CWI are not new to liability insurers, but a surge of such claims in recent years is presenting challenges to UK insurers. Estimates vary however it has been suggested that 17 million UK properties may have been retrofitted with CWI and up to one third of those properties have problems as a result, it is clear that the scale of the challenge is enormous.
Comparisons have been made between the miss-selling scandal of payment protection insurance and CWI claims. Not only because of the increase in CWI claims, but also due to the claims farming activities of many Claimant lawyers looking to represent homeowners – and aggressive tactics being adopted in pursuing such claims.
With current trends and the escalating activity around CWI, there is no doubt that our team’s expertise will be strongly valued for many years to come. If you would like to know more about CWI claims and the assistance our team can offer please do not hesitate to get in touch with Carly Powney, Associate Director, Strategic Accounts.
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