Aviva - Finalist for the Barclays Award for Building Resilient Business

The insurance giant is encouraging the entire sector to be more proactive in giving companies and households effective support to get back on their feet quickly after flooding.

Collaboration is key: During the winter of 2015........

  • Aviva helped 200 families with alternative accommodation
  • Around half of the household claims included had some form of resilient repairs and Aviva helped apply for grants on about a quarter of those cases.
  • In the North West area alone, 97 per cent of businesses that claimed after storm Desmond were trading again within four months.

Financial rewards

  • Resilient improvements can give customers a lower excess on their insurance, and help reduce future claims costs.

Few can forget storms Desmond and Eva, which caused the wettest December in a century. But many might not be aware of the catastrophic damage to 17,000 homes and businesses at a cost of around £1.3bn. But for Graham Brogden, head of property technical claims at Aviva, what struck him most was the emotional impact.

Flooding can drive people are out of their homes and businesses for months to a year, and sometimes even longer. “Flooding can be traumatic and the effects can be long-lasting,” says Brogden. Even when they move back in, once everything has been repaired, “they’ve never really fully recovered.”

Any prolonged period of disruption can destroy businesses, Brogden says. “If the recovery period takes too long, your customers are likely to have moved to other suppliers and it’s not always easy to get them back.”

Some 60% of businesses have no business continuity plans and fewer have considered the impacts of flooding on their business. 


BIrth of the resilience programme

Cue Aviva’s resilience programme, which provides both physical and personal guidance around flood risks, and the benefits of planning for flood and other major incidents. By encouraging flood resilience, Aviva can help get people back into their homes and businesses faster – which is key to reducing the impact on mental health and emotional well-being.

Factual information for small business customers – including flood guidance documents and action checklists – helps assess the risk of flood, advise on immediate post-flood actions and protect businesses in the future. “Trying to encourage property owners to consider resilient measures is challenging in the first instance,” adds Brogden. “But beyond education, practical assistance from an insurer following a claim – like providing customers with interim payments, alternative accommodation and assessing local authority grants – can help businesses continue trading as quickly as possible.”

During the winter of 2015, Aviva’s claims teams were on the ground getting businesses and homeowners back into their properties as quickly as possible. ‘Flood champions’ visited over 150 businesses and homes after the storms, many of whom had no resilience measures in place, to provide advice, guidance and support on potential risks and future resilient measures. Aviva also proactively contacted customers who had not yet claimed to see if it could help.

Why collaboration is key

But for resilience to be effective, industry collaboration is key. By engaging with other insurance providers and industry bodies, Aviva is helping to create a more robust and responsive insurance sector. “We can talk about making homes more resilient but we can’t do that if the materials aren’t available,” says Brogden. Aviva is working with various industries, such as the Construction Products Association, to encourage greater accessibility and awareness of such measures.

As well as helping customers in a practical way, Aviva has developed workshops for its frontline claims experts to help them recognise the emotional devastation floods can cause, including being aware of the impact on children and young people. Critically, these workshops, developed in partnership with the British Red Cross, also help claims teams to recognise and manage their own emotional well being, particularly after dealing with major events.