Blogs – Sustainability

Presenting a sustainable response to the spike in accidental damage claims

A major UK insurer has this week reported a record high in accidental damage claims for January 2021.

Given that large numbers of the UK’s workforce (ONS data suggests circa 47%) continues to operate from home, that is hardly surprising. Very few of us have the luxury of a home office and so when people are having to make do with kitchen tables, or worse, innovate with bedroom furniture and even ironing boards, there are bound to be accidents.

Accidental damage claims in January represented 48% of all new claims according to the insurer providing the data, the third-highest peak seen since April last year. Spillages were at a record high of 22%, within which 44% related to computers and office equipment.

That’s big numbers of computers rendered temporarily inoperable. And that’s a lot of people who will find it even harder or even impossible to work, many of whom will be demanding their insurer replace their damaged kit as soon as possible.

But there is another, better, faster, sustainable way

Here at Polygon, we have long advocated restoration and reconditioning over replacement, and for several very good reasons. Firstly, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is considerably cheaper to restore than to replace. Indeed, in a typical major household damage, the cost saving represents circa £3,000. Secondly, there is the significant issue of data recovery and security associated with replacement – unless the user is part of an enterprise-wide IT system the data will be stored locally on a hard drive that is destroyed once a replacement is made.

Another consideration aligned to data recover is policyholder choice. We all have prized images, music and media content saved locally that could potentially be lost forever – many policyholders may well want their old computer back for such reasons.

And then there is the environmental sustainability argument. It is estimated that 85% of ‘E-Waste’ is sent to landfill and incinerators. Globally, around 50 million tons of E-Waste is generated every year, which is the equivalent of throwing out 1,000 laptops every second.

We know that when we restore rather than replace an item, the CO2 saved can be as much as 6kg, depending on the item. If we look at restoration over replacement in an average property damage, that saving could be as much as 590kg of CO2.

In Polygon UK alone we restore thousands of pieces of electronic equipment every year, with an average cycle time of 24 hours. And our success rate of restoration is consistently at 96%

That’s thousands of policyholders who can return to their desks, ironing boards or vanity tables faster. They can be productive faster as there is no delay in data recovery or account set-up. They are happy because they are productive. Insurers are happy because the policyholder is satisfied, and they have saved cost on the claim. And the world is a slightly better place.  That feels like a pretty sustainable response to us.