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Flexible working ‘leading to fewer insurance claims for iron burns’

·2-min read

Fewer claims for iron burns have been made as people have dressed for the office less often during the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysis by insurance giant Aviva.

And face masks led to more than 1,000 of the UK home insurance claims it handled during 2020 and 2021, as hearing aids and earrings were lost or damaged while people put on or removed masks.

Hearing aids accounted for more than 70% of these claims, with an average value of £1,400. Glasses were also lost or broken after customers took them off when masks caused them to steam up.

The insurer has seen changing trends in the home insurance claims it has been receiving since the pandemic started.

Carpets are among the most damaged items when looking at home insurance claims made following accidents.

But Aviva said claims for iron burns on carpets fell by 42% in 2021, compared with the 2017-19 average, as people worked from home more often and wore more casual clothes which did not need ironing.

Accidental damage claims involving exercise equipment rose by 200% in 2020, compared to the average in the years leading up to the pandemic, as workouts became home-based.

Tablets and phones were knocked off surfaces while people used exercise equipment.

Weights were dropped on tiles and laminate flooring. In one case, a customer’s daughter spilled water inside a TV set during a Joe Wicks exercise session, Aviva said.

Home insurance claims involving hot tubs nearly tripled in 2020.

Analysis of Aviva’s UK claims data revealed a year-on-year increase of 188%, in relation to accidental damage claims for hot tubs in 2020.

Scenarios included a grass strimmer bursting an inflatable tub, birds pecking holes in a spa cover and an engagement ring ripping a tub lining. Hot tub-related claims were still way above pre-pandemic levels in 2021, but had fallen by 12%, compared to 2020.

While thefts from homes fell overall during the pandemic as people remained at home, pedal cycle thefts accounted for a higher proportion (34%) of total thefts in 2021, compared with 20% in 2019, Aviva said.

It also recorded an increase in claims for garden fires from bonfires and barbecues in 2020, although the numbers fell in 2021.

Kelly Whittington, property claims director for Aviva, said: “We’re constantly looking at how claims trends change and evolve, so we can help to protect our customers.

“We certainly saw a few fluctuations throughout the Covid pandemic. Some of these changes seem to have been related to a particular moment in time, but there are wider behavioural trends, such as hybrid working, which are likely to impact our claims experience in the longer term.

“Whatever the potential problem, whether it involves a hot tub or a hearing aid, an iron or an exercise bike, we’d always urge customers to keep a look-out for potential hazards.”

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