Fire chiefs have intervened in the financial crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of high-rise leaseholders by urging insurers to think twice before they hike premiums on towers with fire safety problems.
With some leaseholders facing increases of up to 1,200% in building insurance and others unable to get any cover, the National Fire Chiefs Council has met the Association of British Insurers to argue for a “more informed approach”. The fire chiefs are concerned that insurers have been increasing premiums sharply regardless of the degree of danger uncovered in the wake of the Grenfell Tower.
One group of leaseholders at the M&M buildings in London saw their premium rise from £100,000 to £700,000, increasing annual service charges by an average of £3,500.
Residents at Brindley House in Birmingham had no buildings insurance for at least six weeks this year as a result of insurers’ reluctance to provide cover, campaigners in the city said. At another Birmingham block, Islington Gate, premiums rose from £37,000 to around £200,000.
Some directors and officers of leaseholders’ management companies have also been denied cover, meaning they face huge legal bills if claims are made against them.
The UK Cladding Action Group, which represents affected residents, is also due to meet the ABI on Thursday to demand change. Social landlords have not experienced the same premium hikes, according to the National Housing Federation.
“We want a more informed approach to allow any change to insurance to be appropriate,” said Daniel Daly, head of the protection policy and reform unit at the NFCC. “We have always been concerned about the impact