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Independent Research from QuestGates

Published: 05/04/2017

Independent Research from QuestGates

QuestGates are independent chartered loss adjusters and claims specialists who work with insurers, brokers and self insured clients, doing building surveys and claims loss valuations.

In 2015 QuestGates surveyed of 400 SME customers and results showed that 86% were found to be underinsured. On average, their policies were out by 40% of the total sum needed to cover a potential total loss.

In 2016 the loss adjuster said the number of properties found to be underinsured was still around 86%-90%, but the policies were now out by around 29%.

QuestGates director Alistair Steward explains that the reduction took into account clients who were returning to do second and third valuations which would have been offset by valuations for new clients.

He adds: “We are still seeing some fairly staggering anomalies, not just underinsurance, but there have been some instances of over insurance. For the valuations we do, the vast majority are underinsured, so there is still a problem out there and it will be there for some time to come.

“On the face of it you could say things are getting better but I would guard around saying that. [29%] is still too much at the end of the day. Valuations are now mature because we are seeing people come through for a second valuation. The fact we are seeing a lot of properties fall for the second and third time now, helps the overall figure.

”As we progress and social media is far more prevalent, I see a difference in the message getting out there far more, but there is still lots of work to be done.”

In one example Steward gave about a property that was found to be underinsured; the property was initially insured for £820,000. But when QuestGates went to assess it, the value at risk was £3.3m. The value at risk accounts for how much it will cost to rebuild a property in the same condition it was in before, taking into account, demolition and clearing costs.

Insurance Act

QuestGates is also handling more valuations than it has ever done, an increase that has been driven by the Insurance Act.

Since the introduction of the Act valuation instructions received into QuestGates have increased by 38%.

According to Steward this is because people are now more aware about the potential impact of underinsurance. It is also evidence that the implications of the Act surrounding fair presentation of risk are being taken seriously by brokers. 

But Steward says it is still a challenge for brokers to explain to their customers about the need for paying for valuations, on top of their premiums, in a competitive and sometimes price driven market.

He adds: “I sympathise with brokers who are in highly competitive markets. They are trying to secure a renewal and on top of that they are trying to win the odd new client.

“Most people that buy insurance see it as a grudge purchase. Against this backdrop I know how difficult it is for brokers trying to explain to someone on top of their insurance premium they should also pay for a valuation”.

Working with your insurance broker

At Flint we constantly remind our commercial clients about the danger of underinsurance; it's a really important message that we must get across. The QuestGates research also identified some property owners who were over insured and whilst this was less common – it's still not good for insureds.

The Insurance Act is about providing proper information for insurers to be able to evaluate risks and accurate property valuation is part of this. If you are in any doubt about your rebuild values, then please speak to us and we will help you get the right professionals to assess your property.  Without the correct sums insured you are not properly covered and your business is at risk. 

If you are worried about underinsurance, or feel that your property needs to be better assessed, call Jim Tuhey, our Commercial Claims and Risk Management Specialist on 0344 247 7361 and he will be able to help.


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