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“All houses have cracks” so what is required in Subsidence (and heave and landslip) claims is the ability to investigate whether the damage is due to ground movement or superstructure defect and, if ground movement, understanding the cause and determining the best resolution, whether to try and stop or accommodate the movement.  Such situations are best resolved by specialists, usually (but not exclusively) surveyors or engineers with insurance expertise. Changes in weather and climate continually challenge standards and rules of thumb. The CILA Subsidence SIG committee share developing wisdom so that our profession can best serve insurers and consumers.

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SIG Committee


Neil Curling - Lloyds Banking Group


  • Neil Crawford - Crawford & Company
  • Nick Deakin - RSA Group
  • Mark Griffiths - Davies Group Ltd
  • Tom Griffiths - Constructive Response
  • Patrick Isaacs - Cunningham Lindsey UK
  • John Parvin - Zurich
  • Kevin Terry - Cunningham Lindsey UK

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This paper is a comprehensive guide to claims involving retaining walls. It includes useful tips on how to investigate retaining walls collapses and discusses insurance policy considerations.

Designs such as gravity, piling, cantilever and anchored walls are explained, along with features of wall construction such as weep holes. Possible causes of collapse are outlined and the importance of establishing proximate cause is highlighted. Definitions of landslip, storm, flood and damage are explored, with reference to relevant case law and FOS decisions. The paper also includes comment on responsibilities for retaining walls and repair considerations.

Investigation & evaluation of claims involving Retaining Walls

This Agreement relates to claims arising under policies covering domestic properties owned by an insured in a personal capacity and situated in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the channel Islands, where there has been a Change of Insurer (but not a change of ownership of the insured property), where the insured event of Subsidence and/or Heave and/or Landslip has/have occurred causing damage to the insured property.


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