Category Archives: Features

Waste and recycling – Insurers closing the market gap

In recent years there has been a substantial increase in waste management and recycling firms operating in the UK, helped by the government’s determination to turn the UK into a ‘zero waste’ economy. This rapid growth has thrown up a few issues, most notably price volatility of commodities, as well as fire risks (waste material is susceptible to spontaneous combustion). Insurance premiums shot up as a result of the frequency of the claims and some insurers reduced their capacity to cater for these risks.

The waste sector supported 103,000 jobs in 2013

The waste sector supported 103,000 jobs in 2013

For the smaller companies in this sector, the lack of availability and the rising costs became a burden, particularly with risk management requirements such as sprinkler systems. Another issue, discovered by loss adjustors, was underinsurance. This was highlighted in a high proportion of the claims. A prominent gap in a lot of policies was stock debris removal, as most policies do not recognise waste in its ‘raw’ or converted state, as stock, so the debris removal following an incident was often uninsured. This is then made worse by the additional weight of the water used to put out the fire. This saturation can potentially double or triple the weight of the materials.

The industry is working hard to navigate these issues. The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs have noted a fall in the risks posed by waste. Illegal sites are being clamped down on, and a lot of work has gone on to improve risks. Some insurers have since added specialisms within this sector, enabling them to quote more attractively for these risks. This is also resulting in policies becoming more bespoke, with loss adjustors working with brokers to ensure the gaps in cover which were commonplace before are eradicated, and the policies tailored to be better suited to the waste sector.

Image sources: 1, 2

10 steps to greener living

1 Recycle
This may seem a tad obvious but the unfortunate truth is that the average individual produces on average four pounds of waste each and every day. By making recycling a priority, you can help cut down on what ends up in landfills.

2 Nurture your outdoor living space
Part of prettying up your outdoor living space can involve welcoming wildlife into your backyard. While you are busy arranging your stylish outdoor furniture, consider including a few attractive birdhouses and feeders to make your backyard an outdoor oasis for wildlife too.

3 Put your lights on timers
While it’s important to illuminate your home, leaving the lights on can be extremely wasteful of energy. Purchase a few timers and program them so that the lights come on and turn off at the most beneficial times.

4 Keep a garden
You may not have the greenest thumb in the world, but designing a garden and caring for it can plant a deep sense of appreciation for the earth. Plant a few vegetables over the summer or a plethora of wildflowers and revel in the beauty of your personal green space.

5 Go vintage
Investing in second-hand pieces – be it clothes, furniture or home decor accessories – not only helps reduce your personal consumerism levels, but it can also offer an instant infusion of charm and character into your home.

6 Choose eco-friendly home decor accessories
When looking for those special final touches to make your dream bedroom, contemporary kitchen or soothing bathroom absolutely perfect opt for eco-friendly home accessories. There are all sorts of stylish choices available today that are created using environmental materials.

7 Compost
Composting may not be the most appetizing subject to bring up at the dining table, but it is an important environmental step towards living green. Plus, if you create a little compost corner in your own backyard you can nourish your garden and cut down on fertilizing costs in the spring.

8 Repair where possible
While it may be awfully tempting to throw out that broken table, ripped sofa or faded bookshelf, choosing to repair an item instead of replacing it is the more environmentally friendly approach. In addition to cutting down on waste, repairing increases the sentimentality of an object and with time, can transform something that was once considered ordinary into an heirloom.

9 Car share/use public transport
Leave your car in the garage more often and hop onto a bus, join a carpool program or grab your bike when running your errands. Better still, lace up your sneakers and start walking to your destinations. The perks? A workout-inspired and waste-free outing!

10 Stick with it
One of the most important things anyone can do when attempting to embrace easy green living is to simply stick with it. Don’t expect you or your family to become perfect ‘green’ citizens of the world overnight. Instead, focus on a few choice goals, such as keeping a garden and recycling regularly, and follow through on those goals before adding to them. Over time, these resolutions will begin to feel like habits and you will be living the green life full-time.

Flooding Advice

Many areas in England have been badly affected by flooding in recent weeks. It is important to be prepared and we have collated some useful advice for anyone living in flood risk areas:

  • Move as much as possible upstairs or into the loft, especially expensive or important possessions.
  • Ensure mobile phones are charged and prepare a kit with a torch, any medication you will need and waterproof clothing. Also consider filling some jugs and containers with fresh drinking water.
  • Make use of sandbags if you can – there are also special barriers you can fix into doorways to stop water getting in. Call the Environment Agency to find out how to obtain these. Remember to protect airbricks and basement windows.
  • Seal the soil drainage to stop any water from getting into the building’s drainage system, to prevent contaminated water from entering the building.
  • Turn off the electricity to floors that are likely to be affected. If water enters your home, switch off your gas and electricity until a qualified professional has checked it is safe.
  • If you have a lower area such as a basement, try to route the water flow into these areas and pump out.
  • Take up carpets and remove anything that can be moved to higher floors.
  • Call drying companies and put them on standby in order to get them to set up large industrial dehumidifiers to start the drying process as soon as possible after the flood. This can prevent any water penetrating into the building’s foundations, which would cause further problems.
  • Stay away from areas immediately near coastal waters and avoid walking or driving through flood water.
  • Keep informed of weather warnings and be prepared to evacuate if told to do so. You can find weather warnings on the Environment Agency website at

We are here to help customers affected by this weather; in the unfortunate event that your home is flooded, contact us by telephone as soon as possible so we can help you.


Sources: Mike Smith (picture), Aviva, Hiscox