Construction and engineering firms will find it more difficult to conduct business due to changes to insurance policy conditions this year, it has been warned.
Mactavish, a business providing expertise on commercial insurance placement and disputes, has said the changes will be “severely adverse” for firms.
Changes, according to Mactavish, will include sharply reduced cover levels irrespective of cost, which could disqualify companies from accepting new contracts or drive them into non-compliance with existing contracts.
“In the most extreme cases, this could threaten huge contraction of companies’ operations or even prompt distressed business sales,” Mactavish said in a statement.
Another change highlighted by Mactavish is premium increases of up to five-times and excesses and deductibles going up by a factor of three to four.
Mactavish has claimed the changes are being caused by insurance “capacity blackspots” hitting industry sectors which have benefitted from a long period of attractive insurance pricing but have now become so complex that insurance companies are reluctant to underwrite the risks.
Mactavish highlighted how “professional indemnity” risks in construction and engineering have “skyrocketed in recent years” as projects become larger, technically more advanced and involve more stakeholders and more demanding contracts
A Mactavish spokesperson said: “The issue has emerged now after years of poor insurance underwriting results and sustained losses came to a head towards the end of 2018, prompting several underwriters to withdraw from writing professional indemnity risk in the construction sector altogether and leading to a tightening of insurance market conditions which is unprecedented in the last 15 years.”
Speaking of the changes, Mactavish chief executive Bruce Hepburn said: “The net effect on insurance value for money for construction businesses will be catastrophic.
“To avoid the risks created by these changes, it is more imperative than ever that they think about how to communicate their risk favourably, to meet all their legal obligations and to clarify the terms of their insurance cover before it is too late.
“There are two major further risks. One, the reliability risk is drastically increased because insurers will always challenge far more claims in a hard market, which is likely to increase even further beyond the 45% of large and complex claims currently disputed in the UK.
“Second, limitations will also lead to exposure to wild, punitive shifts in pricing and available limits, particularly pronounced in blackspot sectors and for companies whose risk information is poor, irrespective of how well the business is actually managed.”
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.