The financial cost of the riots in London and the rest of the UK are coming to light as insurers are getting claims. Companies have said they will pay damages for customers who had possessions and property damaged and stolen in the riots, despite the fact that the cost could be up to and exceeding £10,000,000.
Some had concerns that they would not have qualified for claims as the losses were due to public unrest, but insurance companies have said they would. Spokesman for insurer, Zurich, Keith Lewis, explained this decision, saying, “As a customer it doesn’t matter what is happening – the issue of whether it is classed as rioting or civil unrest rises when we as insurers are trying to reclaim costs. It is a back-office issue.”
Zurich had sent loss adjusters to Tottenham early yesterday, before the large amount of violence, and had other ready after the more recent problems.
The Association of British Insurers, ABI, saying the cost will be tens of millions of pounds, advised that people with claims make them as soon as possible to ensure a payout. Director of general insurance, Nick Starling, commented, saying, “”We have every sympathy for residents and business owners who have suffered damage to their properties.
“This is a time of enormous stress for them and their insurers will be on hand to answer any questions that they may have.”
According to the ABI, normal home insurance policies would cover fire, looting, or damage, and some would include accommodation costs for those with unsafe homes. Commercial insurance policies, in addition, would include damage and business interruption.
However, those with cars that were damaged would likely not qualify for coverage unless their policy was a comprehensive plan. For those with third party, fire, and theft cover, it would depend on what had happened—for instance if a pole had hit it, they were not covered, but if a fire had been set, they were.
Travel insurance would also not be likely to be covered. According to the ABI, police who had to cancel holidays due to cancellation of leave would have coverage, but other claims, including those of politicians who may have cut holidays short, would be difficult. A spokeswoman said, “If someone’s business has been affected, and there is a reason they cannot travel, then they would need to contact their insurer and it would be considered on a case-by-case basis – but even that would not be covered by a standard policy in my view.”