Watch out for Mr. Average!

If you have ever been forced to make an insurance claim which has been settled subject to the Application of Average, you will already know what a savage little blighter Mr. Average can be!


If you haven’t, you’ve probably no idea what I am writing about, so here is the Formula of Average to explain things:


Sum Insured

Payout = Claim  X       ——————–

                                        Current Value


Get it? Well, I didn’t think you would, let me explain how Average can work against you in layman’s terms – which is how we like to do things here. I haven’t a clue how to put up scaffolding or build a roof, I don’t expect you to know about all things insurance. That is why you go to a construction insurance specialist – to look out for you and explain the small print.


The easiest way to understand the Application of Average to an insurance claim is to firstly understand that insurance companies require you to insure your businesses fixtures and fitting, machinery/plant, stock – in fact everything that belongs to your business, including the shop front and glass of an office unit you may have, for the full replacement value –AS NEW.


When calculating your sums insured for the purposes of obtaining an insurance quote, remember this AS NEW golden rule, because if you think your wood chipper is 20 years old and therefore only valued at £5,000.00, think again, as a brand new on will probably cost over £20,000.00, and, if you only insure it for the lower figure, you might save yourself some premium  in the short term granted, but in the event of an insurance claim, Mr. Average will come calling, and trust me, you don’t want that…


That said, here is how Average could work against you in, explained in its simplest form:


Imagine you insure your businesses plant cover for £50,000 and you have a claim, say, for a small fire. The man from the insurance company pays you a visit to calculate and inspect the damage, and after he has finished, he says,

“Sorry, but I calculate that the replacement value of these business contents AS NEW will be £100,000.00, and therefore, as you are insured for only £50,000.00, that is half of what you should be insured for, so we will pay only HALF OF YOUR CLAIM.”


That could spell devastation to your business, as I am sure you can imagine and it works proportionately all the way down the line. For the more technically minded of you, it is as follows:


                    (The Loss  Correct Sums Insured)  X  Current Sums Insured = Settlement


As another example, if you had a £20,000 loss and the current sum insured was £35,000 and the actual sum insured should have been £55,000 as new, the insurers would only pay out £12,727, shown below:


            (£20,000 (Loss)     £55,000 (Correct Sums Insured)) X  £35,000 (Current Sums Insured)


=  £12,727 Settlement


Most business insurance, and some household insurance works like this, it’s not just for the construction industry. As Insurance Brokers, we can understand both sides of the coin as they say. Why for instance, would it be fair for an insurance company to have to pay out for a full claim when a client has only paid part of the actual insurance premium he/she should have paid, for full cover?


But regardless, remember these words of warning, and perhaps cut out this article and put it with your insurance papers to remind you to remember that golden rule – AS NEW, or better still, dig out your insurance policy booklet NOW and study your sums insured – are they adequate to replace everything as new? You can always increase your sums insured with your insurance advisor midterm without any bother, so why not do it right away?


It may well prevent a whole raft of bother if you were to have an insurance claim. And stop Mr. Average from paying you a very unwelcome visit!


For further information, please visit our website at Please feel free to call us for a chat during office hours on 01924 499182.





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