Woodgate and Clark has reported a 2,300% increase in the number of business interruption claims it has dealt with between March 2020 and February 2021 in the wake of the pandemic.
Figures show that between February 2019 and March 2020, the insurer handled 259 BI claims. Between March 2020 and February 2021, however, the caseload “shot up” to nearly 6,000 the majority being Covid-related claims.
The firm noted the priority has been SMEs, as they “have less financial resilience” than big corporations, and that for some, the BI claim may be the first they’ve ever made, and they have tended to need the money quickly and needed the most support”.
Julie Groves, Woodgate and Clark’s head of the BI claims unit, said the surge in cases was a “game changer” for loss adjusting, driving “significant” changes to how the company navigated its way through the pandemic.
She said: “We have worked our way through 75% of the caseload and expect to have completed the majority of this process by the end of the summer. Dealing with this has been a massive challenge and an incredible learning experience for us all. Of course business interruption is additional to the recent flooding, and other perils we have managed on behalf of our clients.
“Our approach, which sees each case assigned to a named adjuster who follows the case through from start to finish, has proved to be the best way to work through the cases from a customer perspective as well as the insurers.”
She added: “Policyholders feel looked after; they can ask questions and get the right information from a real person, which makes sense because these are complex claims, especially as we’ve needed to navigate our way and develop procedures not just with insurers but with their legal teams as well.”
In addition, she explained that the high profile of BI has led to “much more involvement from lawyers”, unlike most claims, but “legal input has been an important factor in helping to apply the Supreme Court judgement to each policy”.
She said: “The Supreme Court judgement back in January was essential in breaking the logjam, and now, following the publication in July of the declaration (a protocol between the FCA and the insurers which sets out how the Supreme Court judgement is interpreted), the industry has been able to clarify certain outstanding policy wordings, which will lead to more cases being settled.”