The increased occurrences of a fire insurance claim in the U.K over the last 10 yearsand the rise in insurance claims resulted in the U.K insurance industry paying out over £3 million per day for fire related claims in 2016. This has created an even greater demand for professional intervention and services as offered by the building surveyor.
The independent building surveyor’s role and expertise combined with their capabilities as project coordinator and administrator, is not emphasized or recommended enoughby insurersor Loss adjusters at the early stage of a claim.
The omission of the importance of a building surveyor and their acknowledgment as a natural lead position results in poor management and co-ordination between the insurers, loss adjuster, property owner and restoration contractors. The unstructured approach to management of fire-damaged buildings fundamentally increases both the cost of reinstatement works and unnecessary delays and anxiety to the building owner(s).
The appointment of a competent building surveyor who has experience of fire damage or fire insurance claims and the insurance industry from the onset, will reduce or eliminate insurer’s liability for long-term damage and the after effects to both the building and its occupants.
By combining the services of a Loss Assessor or Insurance assessor and Independent surveyor the claims process will maintain quality and performance, and ultimately reduce the cost of returning properties to pre-loss condition.
If insurance companies and loss adjusters do not recognise the importance of a building surveyor’s skillset and abilities within the fire insurance claims process they may find themselves open to litigation claims through poor management and selection of competent contractors. There is always the issue of poor training in this niche area which can increase the overall cost of a claim or incident but the majority of insurers do not realise its true cost. Further work is therefore required to educate the damage management industry in good practice and inter discipline working relationships.
Despite the need to improve on processes as times change and things evolve, best practise can also be used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organisations and individuals (such as the building surveyor) can use for management, policy and operations. There is however no single practice that is best for everyone or in every situation, and no best practice remains best for a long period of time as people keep on finding better ways of doing things and better ways to improve.
Accepted practices on the other hand are those that have been used time and time again without question or understanding at higher level by insurers. It is a true fact that bad practices have become accepted practices and problems which have occurred in the past continue to happen over and over again.
It is therefore essential that the Building surveyor works hand in hand with the Loss Assessor and Loss Adjuster to help simplify the claim process and eliminate many of the problems caused by disparity that currently exist amongst Loss Adjusters and Insurers.