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First anniversary of UK riots Industry publishes claims data and calls for urgent reform to The Riot Damages Act 1886

First anniversary of UK riots –Industry publishes claims data and calls for urgent reform to The Riot (Damages) Act 1886

95% of all riot claims have been settled or interim payments made

On the eve of the first anniversary of the UK riots, the insurance industry has published riot claims data and calls on the Government to urgently reform The Riots Damages Act (1886).

Insurers experienced 3000 riot claims and customers can expect to receive around £200m in compensation from insurers. While the industry continues to help those affected, insurers are asking the Government to review the Riot Damages Act to simplify, speed up and improve the claims process to reflect the demands of modern society.

Aidan Kerr, Head of Property at the Association of British Insurers, comments:

“Insurers responded swiftly to help homeowners and businesses recover from last August’s riots and have so far settled over 98% of household property damage claims. In addition, insurers have settled or made payment towards 93% of small business claims and 99% of large commercial claims.

“The Riot Damages Act is crucial in providing financial compensation to victims of riots who do not have property insurance or are underinsured but the current lack of a standard approach has caused unacceptable delays and confusion. The ABI is calling for urgent reform to simplify and streamline the Act so that it delivers for those who need it most.”

“While insurers have settled or paid against the vast majority of claims, over half of claims submitted by insurers to police authorities under the Riot Damages Act have been declined. This shows insurers are doing all they can to look after their customers, despite not getting their claims settled by the police authorities.

The ABI is calling for the following changes to the Riot Damages Act:

· A clear, more modern, legislative definition of a riot is needed so victims in different geographical locations are not treated differently. In some areas, claims were made under the Act, that were declined by police authorities as they did not see them as constituting a riot.

· The claims process for local police authorities needs to be streamlined and standardised

· The ABI would also like to see the time period for notification of claims for Riot Damages Act extended from 14 to 90 days.

How insurers responded to the riots

Insurers and loss adjusters have helped many home-owners and businesses affected by the riots to get back on their feet by offering practical help and advice, arranging alternative accommodation and providing cash payments to meet their immediate needs. They also:

· Worked with Government officials in the days immediately after the riots providing technical expertise to assist the Government to establish a claims process for uninsured claimants.

· Proactively got in touch with their policyholders within hours of the riots occurring to check whether they needed any help from their insurer.

· Communicated with affected customers through the media to provide an assurance that most customers would be covered by their insurers for riot-related losses and asking customers to contact their insurer as quickly as possible so their insurer could help.

· Ensured that there were more call centre staff on hand to answer any questions from customers.

· Extended the period in which customers could make a claim from 30 to 42 days.

· Settled straight forward claims, such as for broken windows, as quickly as possible – mostly within days.

· Made hundreds of payments to business customers, particularly small and medium enterprises, to enable them to continue trading.

· Arranged alternative accommodation for homeowners affected.

· Provided alternative premises for businesses to trade from within days of the riots.

· There are still a small number of highly complex claims outstanding where the damage was extensive, resulting in some cases in buildings being completely demolished and the plans to rebuild have yet to be finalised in some cases. These claims inevitably take longer to settle but insurers are working with their customers to settle these outstanding claims as soon as possible.

Notes for Editors

1. Enquiries to:

Linsey White 020 7216 7415 Mobile: 07885 998011

Sarah Bailey 020 7216 7514 Mobile: 07725 372636

Adeola Ajayi 020 7216 7521 Mobile: 07725 245284

2. The ABI is the voice of the UK’s insurance, investment and long-term savings industry. It has over 300 members, which together account for around 90% of premiums in the UK domestic market.

The ABI’s role is to:

- Be the voice of the UK insurance industry, leading debate and speaking up for insurers.

- Represent the UK insurance industry to government, regulators and policy makers in the UK, EU and internationally, driving effective public policy and regulation.

- Advocate high standards of customer service within the industry and provide useful information to the public about insurance.

- Promote the benefits of insurance to the government, regulators, policy makers and the public.

The UK insurance industry is the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. It is a vital part of the UK economy, managing investments amounting to 26% of the UK’s net worth and contributing the fourth highest corporation tax of any sector. Employing over 290,000 people in the UK alone, the insurance industry is also one of this country’s major exporters, with 28% of its net premium income coming from overseas business.

Insurance and businesses protect themselves against the everyday risks they face, enabling people to own their own homes, travel overseas, provide for a financially secure future and run businesses. Insurance underpins a healthy and prosperous society, enabling businesses and individuals to thrive, safe in the knowledge that problems can be handled and risks carefully managed. Every day, our members pay out £147 million in benefits to pensioners and long-term savers as well as £60 million in general insurance claims.

3. An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.

4. More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, www.abi.org.uk.

Last updated 01/07/2016