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Fire & Rescue Service Cut Backs Leave Insurers At Risk

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IFIC Forensics is committed to protecting insurers by investing in the next generation of fire investigators, bridging the gap left by cutbacks in the UK’s fire and rescue services.

Continuing cutbacks within the UK fire and rescue service are leaving Insurers’ bottom lines at risk. The UK Local Government Association is anticipating spending cuts of circa 30% over the next five years, equivalent to a reduction of nearly 40% of fire and rescue services’ workforces. This, combined with a talent gap in the market of fire investigators with the technical expertise, unique skills and training required to fully investigate and determine liability in an insurance claim, represents significant business risk for insurers.

Forensic fire investigation is an invaluable tool for insurers providing evidence to repudiate fraudulent claims, recover costs or deliver a reduction in liability. IFIC Forensics is taking the vital steps needed to invest in the next generation of forensic fire investigators and ensure insurers have access to this vital expertise. Dr Jim Lygate is taking the opportunity to promote the profession and bridge the talent gap in the market through his appointment as visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering. The role will see Dr Lygate help develop a masters degree in fire investigation, to equip the insurance industry with the skills needed to tackle a growing problem.

Dr Jim Lygate of IFIC Forensics commented “Cutbacks in the fire service pose a substantial threat to insurers through their exposure to fire claims. With one in ten fires in hotels, pubs and restaurants being a result of arson, cutbacks in the fire services will see increasing numbers of fraudulent claims being paid out unnecessarily. The reduction in investigation skills also diminishes an insurer’s opportunity to limit liability and prove contributory negligence in claims where liability is disputed. Forensic investigation is a valuable tool for the insurance industry and I am delighted to have been asked to assist Edinburgh University in improving the standards of fire investigation available, at a time where they need it most.”