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Subsidence& Surveying

“All houses have cracks”

“All houses have cracks” so what is required in Subsidence (and heave and landslip) claims is the ability to investigate whether the damage is due to ground movement or superstructure defect and, if ground movement, understanding the cause and determining the best resolution, whether to try and stop or accommodate the movement. Such situations are best resolved by specialists, usually (but not exclusively) surveyors or engineers with insurance expertise. Changes in weather and climate continually challenge standards and rules of thumb. The CILA Subsidence SIG committee share developing wisdom so that our profession can best serve insurers and consumers.


Kevin Terry
Woodgate & Clark


Luke Crowe
Woodgate & Clark

Karl Evans

Ben King

Stuart Laughlin
Sedgwick International UK

Kevin Williams
Sedgwick International UK

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This paper provides an introduction to the perils of Subsidence and Heave and highlights some of the insurance issues that require consideration by a Chartered Loss Adjuster.

The writer outlines the common causes of subsidence and heave and briefly discusses erosion and shrinkage or swelling in clay soils. The insurance issues that may come into play are also outlined, including policy exclusions, the ABI Domestic Subsidence Agreement, contents insurance, drainage repairs, mitigation and recovery.

pdfSubsidence and the Chartered Loss Adjuster – Kevin Terry (448 KB)

This agreement of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) relates to claims involving subsidence and/or heave and/or landslip where there has been a change of insurer.

The agreement provides three options for the handling of such claims with the date of notification being the key factor in determining which insurer will handle the claim. The agreement also outlines how contributions should be handled when insurers are to share the cost of settlement. The guidelines consider the practical application of the agreement and provide answers to common questions.

A list of signatories to the agreement is also provided below.

pdfABI Domestic Subsidence Claims Agreement and Guidelines December 2017 (320 KB)

pdfABI Domestic Subsidence Claims Agreement Signatories December 2017 (108 KB)

This paper is a comprehensive guide to claims involving retaining walls. It includes useful tips on how to investigate retaining walls collapses and discusses insurance policy considerations.

Designs such as gravity, piling, cantilever and anchored walls are explained, along with features of wall construction such as weep holes. Possible causes of collapse are outlined and the importance of establishing proximate cause is highlighted. Definitions of landslip, storm, flood and damage are explored, with reference to relevant case law and FOS decisions. The paper also includes comment on responsibilities for retaining walls and repair considerations.

pdfInvestigation & evaluation of claims involving Retaining Walls (993 KB)

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