Specialist Subsidence Conference hailed a triumph 

ILC hosted its latest Specialist Subsidence Conference at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Coventry on Thursday, 7 March which shone a spotlight on the challenges and opportunities within the sector from both an insurers’ and contractors’ perspective. 

Returning for the second consecutive year, the event was again headline sponsored by Optera Structural Solutions, along with Gold Sponsors Geobear, Shire Structures Ltd and Restek UK Ltd; and Silver Sponsors Courtesy Kitchens & Bathrooms, Flawless Soil Testing, Innovation Group, Leviat Ltd, Mainmark, Sedgwick and Vivre Stays Ltd. 

The specialist event saw over 230 key representatives from across the sector keen to follow-up on discussions from the previous year which carefully examined the impacts of the 2018 and 2022 surges. Throughout the event expert panelists addressed three key questions: where are we now; what are the major blocks and challenges; and what are the environmental and tree management challenges? 

Another key thread running through the conference was resource, and how innovation and better practices can be deployed to ensure colleagues are in the best position possible to use their experience and expertise to accelerate decision-making and improve customer outcomes. 

Host Alan Soutar, Chair of Home & Property Claims, ILC, said, “There are key challenges facing the sector today around resources, triage, Consumer Duty, and decision-making, as well as new legislation and innovation around trees and concrete. 

“But that makes this a tremendously exciting time for everyone to be involved in subsidence claims, with the innovation we will require and the changes we will have to make to attract new talent.”  

Taking part in the first panel debate, which considered the state of the sector since the most recent subsidence surge, were Chris Carlton, New Business and Key Client Director, Geobear; Alex Finch, Commercial Director, Optera; Sne Patel, Subsidence Consultant, Innovation Group; and Jemma Garrett, Founder and Managing Director, Flawless Soil Testing. 

They agreed that in terms of progress made between the 2018 and 2022 surges, there was little to show. It was stated that despite the change in landscape since 2018 and the different challenges, progression of subsidence claims was in no better place and, if anything, in certain instances slower. 

However, there was a sense that Consumer Duty could be the kickstart necessary to see real improvements in outcomes and customer journeys.  

Meanwhile, assessing the major blocks and challenges was the topic of discussion following the first break which provided delegates with ample time for networking and visiting the exhibition area. 

The session shone a light on four key subject areas: decision making; solutions; resource; and third parties.  

Split into two distinct parts, it firstly explored the subjects from an insurer and loss adjuster perspective courtesy of: Suzanne Reid, Technical Claims Manager, Property & Liability, esure; Kevin Williams, Head of Subsidence & Valuations, Sedgwick; and Steve Winks, Supply Chain Executive, AXA. 

A panel, featuring Liam Hanlon, Managing Director, The Forshaw Group & Chair, The Subsidence Forum; Ron Mace, Director, Shire UK; Alan Perry, Technical Director, Restek UK Ltd; and Steve Wright, Head of Technical Services, GHG Solutions Ltd then discussed the repair aspects and how the possible solutions to some of the issues. 

Following lunch and another opportunity for delegates to spend time speaking with and experiencing some of the latest products and equipment in the exhibition, Anthony Byars, Liability Risk Consultant, Zurich Resilience Solutions; Richard Rollitt, Technical Director, Innovation Group; Sarah Dodd, Founder, Tree Law; and Freya Chapman, Residential Lead, Mainmark, offered their insights into the environmental aspect of subsidence claims and tree management challenges. 


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