Business Interruption Claims Are on the Rise with Interconnected Global Supply Chains

Fire and explosion are main causes of business interruption loss with cyber attacks, strikes and pandemics growing

New YorkDec. 9, 2015—The average large business interruption (BI) property insurance claim is now in excess of $2.4 million, 36 percent higher than the corresponding average property damage claim of just over $1.7 million, according to a new report from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty® (AGCS), Allianz’s specialist insurer for business and industrial risks.

The Global Claims Review 2015: Business Interruption in Focus, which analyzes more than 1,800 large BI claims totaling over $3.2 billion from 68 countries from 2010 to 2014, finds that both the severity and frequency of BI claims is increasing, and that BI now typically accounts for a much higher proportion of the overall loss than was the case 10 years ago.

“This growth in BI claims is fueled by increasing interdependencies between companies, the global supply chain and lean production processes,” explained Chris Fischer Hirs, CEO of AGCS. “Whereas in the past, a large fire or explosion may have only affected one or two companies, today, losses increasingly impact a number of companies and can even threaten whole sectors globally. With our experts researching this topic, we are well-positioned to respond to this evolving risk.”

Top Global BI Loss Claims

According to the AGCS analysis, the majority of BI claims originate from technical or human factors (88 percent), and not from natural catastrophes. The top 10 causes of BI loss account for over 90 percent of such claims by value, with fire and explosion being the top cause, accounting for 59 percent of all BI claims globally:

Top Causes of BI Loss Globally by Total Value (2010–2014):

  1. Fire and explosion.
  2. Storm.
  3. Machinery breakdown.
  4. Faulty design/material/manufacturing.
  5. Strike/riot/vandalism.
  6. Cast loss (entertainment).
  7. Flood.
  8. Collapse.
  9. Human/operating error.
  10. Power interruption.

In North America, fire and explosion account for 52 percent of BI loss, followed by storm (14 percent) and cast loss in the entertainment sector (8 percent).

BI Industry/Sector Trends

Average BI losses are highest by value for claims originating from energy ($4.3 million) and property ($2.4 million) lines of insurance, followed by engineering ($1 million) and entertainment ($300,000).

The cost of large energy claims is rising, with BI now accounting for a higher proportion of loss totals, as exposures are increasing due to larger onshore energy facilities and growing interdependencies between companies resulting in regional contingent business interruption (CBI) claims if one plant is disrupted.

In the entertainment sector, illness or an accident of a cast member is the most prevalent cause of interruption, accounting for 60 percent of claims. Injury to a major star can delay the production, leading to multi-million dollar claims. Costly visual effects in film production, which often require contractual commitments with third-party specialists, can cause more expensive claims through production delays.

New BI Risks

The effects of interconnectivity and interdependencies are of growing concern, and play an important role in many risks now appearing on the horizon, such as climate change, cyber, pandemics and power outages.

“BI exposures are largest for sectors with high levels of interconnectivity and technological values, as well as concentrations of risks in single locations, such as automotive, semiconductors, and power and petrochemical plants,” said Alexander Mack, chief claims officer, AGCS. “While modern supply chains may be flexible and cost-efficient, they are also more vulnerable to disruption. CBI coverage is increasingly being seen as an essential part of today’s insurance policy for many businesses.”