< Features | 14.09.2017

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower blaze in London earlier this summer continues to unfold, as more victims are identified and the political row rumbles on about what to do next.

For the insurance industry, many of the questions lie around the ‘what next?’ issue too. As investigations into the continue, the insurance industry has been waiting to play its part. The event itself, with an estimated 80 deaths, may well become Europe’s single biggest building insurance payout. Norwegian insurer Protector Forsikring had incepted cover in April, taking the policy over from Zurich, and is now estimating claims will methods, including the installation of flammable surfaces”.

The ABI added: “External cladding made from combustible material can often cause significant fire to spread upwards and between buildings, which is a particular concern for areas of high building density.”

The ABI warned that installing “large quantities” of such flammable materials increased “the probability of fire and potential scale of loss”.

They said that while the number of fires it recorded had fallen, the costs linked with each one had almost tripled in 10 years, as fires became more severe due to changing construction methods. It said such trends were especially important given a government focus on technologies enabling faster construction of homes.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
rise to about £50m – of which 95% will be paid by its reinsurer Munich Re. Cunningham Lindsey has been appointed as loss adjuster on the claim.
It has also been reported that, sadly, many of the residents in the block did not have contents insurance and have lost everything.
EARLY WARNINGS
In late June, it emerged that the insurance industry had warned the government of the dangers of flammable cladding on buildings just a month before the Grenfell Tower fire. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) told ministers in May that “outdated building regulations should be reviewed because they had failed to keep pace with modern construction methods, including the installation of flammable surfaces”.

Th e ABI added: “External cladding made from combustible material can often cause significant fire to spread upwards and between buildings, which is a particular concern for areas of high  building density.” The ABI warned that installing “large quantities” of such flammable materials increased “the probability of fire and potential scale of loss”.

They said that while the number of fires it recorded had fallen, the costs linked with each one had almost tripled in 10 years, as fires became more severe due to changing construction methods. It said such trends were especially important given a government focus on technologies enabling faster construction of homes.

SAFETY REVIEW
An independent review into the safety of cladding, suspected to have been a major contributor to the spread the Grenfell fire, has now begun.
Led by Dame Judith Hackitt, it will examine the regulation of the design, construction and management of buildings in terms of fire safety, with a focus on high-rise buildings.
Th e Department for Communities and Local Government also said it will look at how the rest of the world handles fire safety issues in similar buildings. New whole system tests were introduced after hundreds of cladding samples failed flammability tests in recent months.

According to the report, the Fire Brigades Union and the Loss Prevention Council, which was acquired by the Building Research Establishment from the ABI back in 2000, suggested almost two decades ago that the cladding guidelines were inadequate.

Experts have previously voiced concerns that building regulations are unclear on combustible cladding, which has allowed their use by contractors.

 

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