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2017: what’s on the horizon?

Happy New Year! It’s definitely a better January for many this year than in 2016, when households across the country were faced with the aftermath of devastating storms. But we’re now hearing warnings of arctic weather on the way, so we would urge everyone to make sure their homes are protected from the big freeze. We published a handy guide for this a while ago: you can refresh your memories here.

So what will 2017 have in store for us as far as insurance is concerned? We won’t bring Brexit into this in any detail as we just don’t know yet what impact this will have. A few other things are more certain, at least for the first half of 2017:

  • There is likely to be a lot of discussion later this month around flood resilience measures. In particular, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is pressing government to announce how insurers can incentivise policyholders to improve flood defences in their properties.
  • In April, there are going to be new requirements for insurers to tell customers exactly what premiums they have paid in the past. This is to address the worry that loyal customers are penalised through higher premiums while new customers are given attractive deals.
  • In May, The Enterprise Act comes into force. We wrote about this back in May: it will mean that businesses are entitled to damages if their insurance claims aren’t settled in a ‘reasonable amount of time’. It’s yet to be seen whether this will work in practice.

And of course there’s Flood Re, and in particular the new scheme from the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), which is intended to give businesses access to affordable flood insurance. This was only announced at the end of 2016, so we’re yet to see if it will be successful.  We’ll keep you posted.

Finally, moving away from legislation and regulation, one of the biggest things we could see happening this year is the impact on insurance of the ‘internet of things’: items which are not computers but which are connected to the internet. According to a recent article on the website Thisismoney, this is set to be the big new thing in 2017, including:

  • Security devices in your home which alert you by mobile phone if they detect unusual or suspicious activity while you’re out. Interestingly, one insurer is already offering a discount on one particular device and associated reductions on premiums if you have this installed.
  • Pressure sensors which detect if water is running constantly for an extended period of time and then notify the owners. This could significantly reduce the damage caused by burst pipes or water ingress during heavy rain. We know just how damaging these events can be.

So it’s going to be an interesting year in all sorts of ways. We’ll be keeping an eye on what’s going on as always. In the meantime, we send all our best wishes to our readers for a happy, healthy and successful 2017.

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