Only a disaster can save them now

We’ve had floods, freezes, fears of vandalism, fire brigade cuts and an epidemic of cannabis factories… but still the market for commercial property insurance refuses to harden while claims costs climb. But in this piece for Insurance Times, I discovered that for insurers, the worst may be yet to come. As the property underwriting manager for Zurich told me: “There’s too much capacity, and it’s hard to know what will change that, unless there is a major catastrophe.”

Less than zero

In May, I edited a Building magazine supplement for the Zero Carbon Hub, the public-private organisation helping the construction industry meet the target of building zero carbon homes by 2016. It’s a tall order, not least because “zero carbon” means reducing the energy homes consume not by 100%, but 150%. For an explanation, and plenty of information on how it can be done, you can read the supplement here.

It’s grim everywhere

What will austerity mean for the North-South divide? Previous recessions have made it worse, hitting the industrial North and Midlands harder and leaving their recovery – if it ever comes – lagging behind the white-collar  South East. According to the economists and brokers I spoke to for this Insurance Times piece, it’s a much more mixed picture this time, even if it’s still not looking good for poor Hull…