Ageas (formerly Fortis) and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) are building on their home and business ‘winter weather health check’ campaign launched last year to provide brokers with vital information to help customers avoid damage from an escape of water inside their homes and workplaces.

After last year’s devastating winter, over one third (34%) of insurance property claims costs were for damage caused by escape of water, the most common being for the effects of a burst pipe. Insurance payouts increased by 21.2% in 2009 to £908m1 and it is estimated that as many as 2 million homes may have been affected in some way by the cold weather.2

Last year’s campaign supported brokers and customers during the big freeze and subsequent big thaw. Now, backed by the new research3 and insider knowledge from top maintenance experts, the new drive gives brokers advice in easy-to-share downloadable factsheets to encourage customers to take preventable action now, as well as Key Services Locator stickers to hand out to their customers, allowing them to complete and stick under their kitchen sink.

The headline advice is “take action now”, but the research shows that not enough people will, so this timely reminder is essential to avoid unnecessary claims and costs – not to mention misery for households and businesses.

Startling facts for homeowners/landlords:

  • One in six (17%) of householders would not know where to find the water cut-off valve (stopcock).3
  • More than one in two (52%) other adults in households would not know how to shut off the water supply in an emergency.3
  • Tenants are least likely to know what to do to stop the water supply if they needed to.3
  • One in five households that were affected by the big freeze and subsequent thaw last winter, are not planning any action to avoid problems occurring again.3

Business owners need to note:

  • One in three (34%) people whose workplaces were affected by an escape of water last year say that their bosses are not planning any action to prevent a recurrence this year.3

Mark Cliff, Managing Director, Ageas Insurance Limited said:

“Last year saw extended freezing conditions, with snowbound households and business severely disrupted. Many businesses and households are taking action, even many who were not affected last year – but a large number are not. Our goal is to support brokers by providing further added value to their customers, offering easy-to-implement steps that help customers prepare for the worst when it comes to the cold weather.”

Steve Foulsham, BIBA Technical Services Manager, said:

“The new campaign from Ageas is really going to help raise this important issue for the industry and help brokers to add extra value for their customers by providing useful and timely advice and information.  We are also pleased to see that Ageas is keen to promote the value of the broker in the national media and are very supportive of their efforts.”

Brokers can download the factsheets from or .  Brokers can also order from the Ageas website, Key Services Locator stickers to hand out to their customers, allowing them to complete and stick under their kitchen sink. The sticker guides everyone in the home or office to the whereabouts of the shut off valves to the water, gas and electricity and provides essential telephone numbers for use in an emergency.