15 May 2023

20 years for Build-Zone in Structural Warranty and Latent Defects Insurance with Ash Poore

By Build Zone

Build-Zone was established in 2003 as a trading style of Sennocke International Insurance Services as a specialist Structural Warranty provider. April 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the business that was acquired by Aston Lark in 2021.

We spoke with some of the senior management team at Build-Zone to look back over a period in which the business has established a key foothold in the construction insurance market, to understand what makes it so successful and to gain insight on the key changes they have experienced, and those on the horizon.

Here are some thoughts from Ash Poore, Director at Sennocke & Head of Underwriting, Build-Zone

Ash Poore has worked with Build-Zone for over 15 years, 5 of which as a Director. He leads the underwriting team.

What has kept you in the insurance industry, specifically Build-Zone?

It is a great company to be part of, and dare I say it – Insurance can actually be fun! As part of the Latent Defects Insurance market, you get to be involved in some innovative construction projects & I love the process of working with a whole variety of people, whether dealing with brokers, insurers, developers, investors, lawyers, architects and engineers – it’s always quite varied making the process exciting and engaging.

What industry changes have you seen during your time with Build-Zone?

The introduction and rollout of Modern Methods of Construction MMC have been interesting to watch. Whether it’s a modular design or off-site construction, these methods are becoming more prevalent in the market because of the associated cost savings and the fact that projects get delivered much more quickly. But for insurers and the type of insurance they offer around structural warranties and latent defects, we must fully understand the design and how the construction methods will perform – e.g. how those buildings will remain free of defects over a 10 or 12-year period of time. So when it comes to these new innovative designs, it can be a challenge because you have to understand that the professionals involved have designed robust construction methods. This also affects whether an insurer is actually going to provide a certain amount of capacity and the rates they can offer.

What makes Build-Zone stand out from other providers?

Build-Zone is one of the most established Structural Warranty & LDI providers in the UK and has been around longer than the policy length, unlike many other providers in the current market. Build-Zone is very risk management focused, whereas other providers in the past have not been. We’ve always remained committed to independent technical audits, working with construction professionals to sign off our projects. This has meant we have a good claims experience with our insurers.

What advice would you give to structural warranty and latent defect insurance customers looking for the best product to suit their needs?

The first thing to do is to seek proper advice from insurance professionals and try to understand the risks involved with construction projects. Quite often, developers and funders might need more clarification on what their cover requirements are depending on the strategy and end use of the project as well as advice on what construction design details may cause Insurers concern. Many customers will be looking for the best price rather than seeking advice about exactly what type of cover they may need to protect themselves and ultimately protect the homeowners; therefore, it is essential to deal with experienced structural warranty providers or an experienced broker, as well as aiming to get the best rates available.

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