A 5% increase in building repair costs was evident during Q1 2021, with many manufacturers operating at reduced output as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Sedgwick quarterly review.
Claims management company Sedgwick predicts that cost increases could continue to rise to 7% by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, the review found that shipping difficulties, a shortage of HGV drivers, which was compounded by Brexit, and an increased demand for construction projects were causing significant problems for building repair contractors.
The review also highlighted the growing issue of material and labour shortages causing problems for insurers with the pricing level of fixed schedules.
Sedgwick expects the current material and labour supply difficulties to continue for at least 12 months while manufacturers recover capacity and resolve distribution problems. Until then, supply and demand will cause prices to rise, according to technical director Peter Wassell.
Wassell added: “While prices are the utmost concern, the availability of materials is also worrying. It’s possible that as shortages continue, circumstances may arise where it’s not possible to complete a repair without changing the existing finishes or specifications.”
“For example, when there is a major house fire, repairs could be completed to enable reoccupation, however, a temporary kitchen might have to be installed, or an alternate roof covering used, as the contractors try and deliver like-for-like materials. This obviously creates serious problems for customers who are desperate to have their home repairs completed and their insurance claim settled.”
Housing construction is not the only sector to be affected by supply issues, according to Sedgwick.
Materials shortages and supply delays have also posed further challenges for claims and underwriting in the agriculture industry.
Contractors, who previously would have held quotes for 30 to 60 days, are now providing quotes for just seven days. Similarly, at a recent trade show, farm building suppliers advised that the cost to reinstate agricultural buildings is now at an average of £27,000 compared to £18,500 a year ago.
Sedgwick says this not only affects the policyholder who potentially faces being underinsured, but also insurers that are seeing costs rise at a rate not seen in many years.