Press releases

Legal & General's 'Stop the Drop' campaign aims to half the level of Escape of Water claims.

Malcolm Cooper - Underwriting Director - Legal & General Insurance
Malcolm Cooper
Underwriting Director
Legal & General Insurance

09 November 2011

Malcolm Cooper - Underwriting Director - Legal & General Insurance
Malcolm Cooper
Underwriting Director
Legal & General Insurance

Figures released by Legal & General's general insurance business, as part of its 'Stop the Drop' campaign, highlights that house insurance claims from an Escape of Water (EOW)damage in UK homes cost the insurance industry a colossal £730 million in 2010. This is nearly double the cost of burglary claims over the same period, which amounted to £370 million.

So Legal & General's 'Stop the Drop' campaign is aiming to highlight to homeowners and those renting the likely risk and the extent of damage that can be caused by an Escape of Water. Raising awareness of the damage that water leaks can cause and the preventative measures that may be taken, will hopefully lessen the risk and so reduce the number of water leak incidents that happen in the future.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported that last year over 370,000 people made insurance claims for damage from an Escape of Water, with the average claim being just under £2,000. Legal & General's own figures reveal a dramatic increase in claims for damage from frozen pipes, up from 1.3% of overall claims in 2009 to 6.5% in 2010 and some of these claims were for damage that was more than £10,000.

Legal & General has calculated that the increase in Escape of Water claims currently adds £54 on average to every household insurance premium in the UK. If the industry could work together to cut the number of Escape of water claims by half this could potentially result in a saving in claims cost of £365m a year. This cost saving could then be reflected in customers' house insurance premiums in the future.

Malcolm Cooper, Director for Legal & General's general insurance business said: "People understand that they need to get their boilers serviced annually for example, afraid that they may be without their heating in winter. But they are a lot less likely to think about and do a few simple checks to help prevent or limit the risk of an Escape of Water happening in their home. We need to create greater understanding of the risk all UK homes face so that carrying out checks such as pulling the dishwasher or washing machine out from its usual position to make sure all the connections are in good condition, is common practice."

Malcolm continued; "Consumers understand and take preventative steps to reduce the risk of a burglary happening. People used to leave doors unlocked when they popped to the shops, now we are well aware of the potential dangers of doing this and pay much closer attention to the security of our homes. We need to change people's behaviour in a similar way, so taking measures to prevent an Escape of Water is an automatic part of our general household upkeep to stop damage from happening in the first place.

The risk of a water leak increases during the freezing conditions in the winter months, homeowner's need to take action now. If pipes freeze and burst, the damage caused can leave a home without heating or hot water and the experience can be extremely stressful and costly. We hope the 'Stop the Drop' campaign will result in this happening to fewer people this winter."

Changing lifestyles and freezing winters: major factors in the increase in Escape of Water claims
In 1970, only 30% of homes were fitted with central heating; today this figure is closer to 95%. In addition, more homes have plumbed-in 'white goods' such as dishwashers, washing machines and fridges with icemakers that require their own plumbing system. In 1970 65% of houses had a washing machine, now this figure stands at 96%. This combined with bitterly cold winters when pipes are more likely to freeze means that an Escape of Water is now a greater risk to the nation's homes than burglary.

All properties at risk

Although all properties are at risk, 87% of the Escape of Water claims that Legal & General received are from those living in detached houses, semi-detached houses and terraced houses. Often it is the case that these properties have been fitted with appliances and plumbing for a new additional bathroom after the original build has been completed. Under-floor heating can also add additional risk, as can open-plan layouts mean a leak can spread from room to room.

Legal & General's 'Stop the Drop' report contains a range of suggested preventative measures that can be taken to lessen the risk of an Escape of Water happening in a home.

This information is available for intermediaries and brokers to pass on to their clients at

Notes to editors

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at or by calling 08000 279 833.

We may record and monitor calls. Lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively, consumers should speak to their insurance adviser to check they do have adequate cover in place.

Legal & General Insurance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Issued by Legal & General Insurance Limited. Registered address is One Coleman Street, London EC2R 5AA. Registered in England No 423930.

For more information please contact:

Berni Ryan

Berni Ryan
PR Manager

t: +44 (0) 1737 375369
m: +44 (0) 7788 926790