What does the future hold for structural warranty providers?
Build-Zone’s managing director, Paul Kempton, talks about the future of the structural warranty industry.
Ultimately, there will be fewer of them. You need to understand this business from the back coming forwards, not the other way around which is why my head of technical is someone who understands buildings and construction – but he has also been an experienced loss adjuster so fully understands risks and causation so you can guard against problems in the underwriting beforehand.
"Historically the really successful insurers are ones where the underwriter actually talks to the claims adjuster every day – so they know what has caused the issues and “what can I do to avoid them?”
Insurance is actually very simple. The problem is that there are a lot of MGA’s (managing general agents) in the market. MGA’s come about where the insurer gives capacity to a company to go and ‘write’ business on their behalf. MGAs came about originally because insurers were not very good marketers or distributors and MGA’s provided that service.
There were problems though with loss of control and there were some insurers that ended up backing multiple MGAs all competing against each other, which makes no sense. Now it’s evolved, they actually have the underwriting ‘pen’ whereas in times gone by Insurers made the decision themselves, employing the required skills.
When considering 10 or 12-year structural warranties the risk management has to be even more tightly controlled given that insurers have a long-term risk on their books. It is far from just thinking that compliance with the Building Regulations is sufficient and therefore as an industry we should be looking more closely at building control bodies let alone accountability for the work that they do. This is something we firmly believe in and only now is it actually being considered.
At Build-Zone we take pride in our technical services. Every project has to go through prescribed technical audits and every building professional we use is linked to a consultancy agreement. This means our technical audits are very precise and expectations are high – which is good news for the end user. There are those that charge clients large Fees for little or meaningless surveys which is why we are bringing in specific software going forwards.
We now have really large capacity and can handle projects up to reinstatement values of over £250m for structural warranty.
We’re doing lots of things to add more value to the industry and we’re careful about how we do things, which is why we get the backing of good insurers.