As we all look to try and put the last year behind us, for a mixture of business and personal reasons, Simon Jones gets out his crystal ball to look at the year ahead.
What might the next 12 months hold?
I hesitate to say it, after the ups and downs of the recent past, but as we all tentatively look forward to the albeit slow opening up of society as a result of the national vaccine programme, I am focused on what the next 12 months will hold.
Predictions are always hard to make, but planning is essential if we are to ensure our adjusters and our specialist repair and restoration network is to continue to deliver the high quality of service customers are used to.
As with any future planning, the recent past provides a key and, with that in mind, the lessons from the second and third lockdown periods, which were very different from the first, can cast some light on what to expect. Many businesses, aside from the hotel and leisure industry, continued to operate after the first relaxation of the rules, and whilst many properties were left unoccupied, property owners had taken advantage of the downtime to have maintenance works undertaken and staff continued to attend many heritage sites although they had been closed to the public. The position is not the same, of course, for the leisure industry and in this sector, we have seen several major loss cases arising from properties being left vacant.
So, moving forward, and as heritage customers that are open to the public, from houses to places of worship, start to re-open – potentially with more foot traffic than ever before as a result of foreign travel restrictions – we are gearing up for a rise in claims.
In terms of specialist repairs, one concern, and one that has been increased by Brexit, is the potential for a scarcity of specialist materials, such as timber, roof tiles, insulation, PPE, plumbing items, sanitary ware, electrical products, and tiles. Whist this has not been an issue thus far, partly as a result of stockpiling in the run up to Brexit, these stores are now likely to start to be depleted. We are, of course, monitoring the situation closely, and our Head of Operations, Martin Cornes, conducts a bi-weekly conference call with all 90 of our approved contractors to monitor, amongst other things, the supply of materials, particularly those specialist items that are common to the heritage sectors.
The other Brexit-factor is the potential for a shortfall in skilled labour, particularly in some specialist skills as EU workers decide not to return to the UK – and, again, we have been working hard to stay ahead of the curve. To this end, the Quadrassist network recently added 15 new specialist contractors to the network.
To discuss how we are preparing for the future in more detail, email Simon on Simon.Jones@quadraclaims.co.uk.
Reviewing the trends of the Covid-19 year
Catch up on Simon’s reflection of ‘the year that was’ in our previous blog here.