HSB Reports 100 Per Cent Increase in Operational Plant Fire Claims in 2020

Construction site

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  • UK claims data shows construction plant fires increased in the second and third quarter of 2020.
  • Increased claims coincided with construction industry playing catch up on project delays.
  • Hydraulic hose failures and electrical faults are the common causes.

HSB, the specialist engineering and technology insurer, saw UK construction plant fire claims double in 2020.

A review of claims data highlighted a surge in plant fire claims in the second and third quarter of 2020; reflecting the impact pandemic-related project delays have had on the construction industry. The data shows that these operational fires were due to increased hydraulic hose failures and electrical faults; a sign that plant and equipment was being worked harder.

Fires, caused by hose failure, often occur if the hydraulic fluids are sprayed onto hot working parts of equipment. In addition, running plant with constantly low fluid levels can also present a substantial risk of fire and damage.

John Nicholls, Product Lead – Construction at HSB, commented; “Our claims data provides a clear indication that the pandemic has impacted on the number of plant fire claims we have seen.  As construction sites re-mobilised after the first lockdown and contractors sought to steer projects back on schedule, plant was worked harder than usual; placing additional stress on working parts and electrical systems. With projects typically operating to tight deadlines, the repercussions of out of action equipment can be costly. “

Regular visual inspections of working parts, hydraulic lines, fluid levels, the engine bay, electrical system and electrical control coupled with scheduled maintenance can mitigate the risk of operational fires occurring. Further risk guidance on safeguarding construction plant and equipment is available from HSB.

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HSB, part of Munich Re, is a specialist insurer and provider of inspection and risk management services. HSB’s insurance offerings in the UK and Ireland include construction, equipment breakdown, cyber and computer, and energy covers. HSB blends its engineering expertise, technology and data to craft inventive insurance and service solutions for existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Throughout its 150-year history HSB’s mission has been to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy and build deeper relationships that benefit business, public institutions and consumers. HSB holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). For more information, visit www.hsbeil.com and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Munich Re is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions. The group consists of the reinsurance and ERGO business segments, as well as the capital investment company MEAG. Munich Re is globally active and operates in all lines of the insurance business. Since it was founded in 1880, Munich Re has been known for its unrivalled risk-related expertise and its sound financial position. It offers customers financial protection when faced with exceptional levels of damage – from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake through to the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and to the California wildfires in 2018. Munich Re possesses outstanding innovative strength, which enables it to also provide coverage for extraordinary risks such as rocket launches, renewable energies, cyberattacks, or pandemics. The company is playing a key role in driving forward the digital transformation of the insurance industry, and in doing so has further expanded its ability to assess risks and the range of services that it offers. Its tailor-made solutions and close proximity to its customers make Munich Re one of the world’s most sought-after risk partners for businesses, institutions, and private individuals.

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