Verisk warns of continued skills challenge  

Verisk has welcomed the government’s decision to relax the rules on construction workers entering the UK from abroad, but warns it will take time for the benefits to start easing growing property claims cycle times. 

The government has added roles such as bricklayers, roofers, carpenters and plasterers to the shortage occupation list, but the skills shortages facing the industry will remain a challenge in the short-term. 

Ben Blain, Head of Property at Verisk said, “Relaxing the rules for skilled workers to work in the UK from abroad will be welcome news for insurers and contractors. A shortage of labour has negatively influenced the delays in completing repair work for policyholders.” 

However, he said that alongside a lack of skills, other pressures are also driving up repair costs. 

Ben continued, “Increases in the cost of materials, oil, gas, and plant have made repairs to commercial and domestic properties significantly more expensive for insurers and contractors alike. The shortage of building materials caused by the war in Ukraine also contributed to the challenges faced by insurers and contractors.” 

Verisk researches over 50,000 material and equipment price points every year which, together with labour costs, provides the benchmarks for insurers and contractors to use for agreeing a fair-to-all schedule of costs for repairing properties. 

It’s latest report, while highlighting the immediate challenges, offers some optimism for the industry. 

Ben said, “The last 18 months have seen significant increases in the cost of materials. One example is the cost of bricks and concrete blocks which have risen by 24%. But the positive news is that the worst of the inflation pressures appears to be behind us, but that does not mean we can expect prices to come down markedly in the near to medium term.” 


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