Fire & Natural Catastrophe Still Biggest Drivers of Commercial Claims

Over the past five years, fire and explosion, natural catastrophes and faulty workmanship or maintenance have been the major causes of loss by value of insurance claims, according to the Global Claims Review 2022 from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).

“Insurance claims from companies have become more severe over the past five years due to factors such as higher property and asset values, more complex supply chains and the growing concentration of exposures in one location, such as in natural catastrophe-prone areas,” says AGCS Chief Claims Officer and Board Member Thomas Sepp. “The future does not look brighter anytime soon. Companies and their insurers have shown resilience to weather the loss impact of the pandemic, but the ongoing war in Ukraine, a spike in the cost and frequency of business interruption losses and the sustained elevated level of cyber claims are creating new challenges. At the same time, the top two causes of claims, fires and natural hazards, remain significant loss drivers for companies. Last but not least, the impact of soaring inflation around the world will bring further pressure on claims costs.”

“Replacement costs more and replacement takes longer, and this means both the property damage and the business interruption loss are likely to be significantly higher,” says Sepp. “Updating insured values for all new contracts is therefore a pressing concern for insurers, brokers and insureds. If this doesn’t happen, our clients run the risk of not being fully reimbursed in the event of a loss, while insurers run the risk of underpricing exposures. The insurance market has already seen a number of claims where there has been a significant gap between the insured’s declared value and the actual replacement value.”

For example, in a claim for a commercial property destroyed in the 2021 Colorado wildfires, the rebuild value was almost twice the declared value, due to a combination of inflation, demand surge, and underinsurance.

An in-depth interview with Sepp on inflation and its impact on claims is available here.

What are the top causes of business insurance claims?In one of the industry’s most comprehensive analyses, AGCS has identified the top causes of loss for companies from more than 530,000 insurance claims in over 200 countries and territories that it has been involved with between 2017 and 2021 (typically a number of insurers provide coverage jointly considering the huge values at stake in the corporate sector). These claims have an approximate value of €88.7bn, which means that the insurance companies involved have paid out – on average – over €48mn every day for five years to cover losses.

The analysis shows that almost 75% of financial losses arise from the top 10 causes of loss, while the top three causes account for close to half (45%) of the value. Despite improvements in risk management and fire prevention, fire/explosion (excluding wildfires) is the largest single identified cause of corporate insurance losses, accounting for 21% of the value of all claims. Fires have resulted in more than €18bn worth of insurance claims over five years, according to the analysis. Even the average claim totals around €1.5mn.

Business interruption losses on the rise

The claims analysis also highlights the growing relevance of BI as a consequence of losses in property insurance, and the fact that CBI claims have reached a new high over the past year. Costs associated with the impact of BI following the aftermath of a loss can significantly add to the final bill from an incident. The average BI property insurance claim now totals in excess of €3.8mn compared with €3.1mn five years ago. For large claims (>€5mn), the average property insurance claim which includes a BI component is more than double that of the average property damage claim.

The number of CBI claims has increased year-on-year for the past five years, exemplifying the growing interdependence and complexity of corporate supply chains. The automotive industry alone has seen several CBI events during this period, with the overall growth in CBI claims exacerbated in the last two years by a large loss in the semi-conductor manufacturing sector and the ‘Texas Big Freeze’ event.  The claims from these two events more than tripled the number of CBI claims in the previous three years.

While not appearing in the top 10 causes of loss, the number of cyber claims has significantly increased over the past few years, driven by the rise of threats such as ransomware attacks, but also reflecting the growth of cyber insurance. AGCS has been involved in more than 1,000 cyber claims in both 2020 and 2021, compared with fewer than 100 in 2016. Claims frequency has begun to stabilize however, albeit at elevated levels.

The report and further materials are available for download here.

About alastair walker 10104 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.