The UK has been experiencing the hottest summer since 1976 – the fifth driest on record – leading to the highest levels of subsidence claims over the last 20 years. Fortunately, weather risk management provider EuroTempest has found that the surge in subsidence claims will likely revert to its normal levels for the rest of this year.
The high rainfall levels recorded in mid-August, along with shorter daylight and lower temperatures, have been easing dry ground conditions that often result in subsidence. However, EuroTempest noted that the longer-term forecasts don’t necessarily promise more rainfall in the later months.
According to ABI statistics, 55,000 and 37,000 subsidence claims were recorded in the hot exceptional summers of 2003 and 2005, respectively. During those years, the total rain from January to August in South-East England was 326.3mm in 2003 and 321.8mm in 2005.
In contrast, January to August 2022 has only seen 278.9mm of rainfall. Almost every place in the UK has seen below-average rainfall totals, with only northern Scotland close to the average for the year so far, putting most of England in the top 10 driest years in history.
Although the data has insurers concerned, Nick Wood, commercial director at EuroTempest, said there is still comfort found in the wet end to the prolonged hot and dry weather since monitoring rainfall alone isn’t enough to make accurate claims predictions.
“Certainly, total rainfall levels do not give the full picture. If you compare the last two particularly dry summers of 2003 and 2005 for example, while they saw similar levels of January to August rainfall, insurers saw 30% fewer subsidence claims in 2005,” Wood said. “What we do know is this long hot summer ended abruptly with higher levels of rain than in 2003 and 2005.”