Hertfordshire highways bosses paid out almost half a million pounds in insurance claims last year – with the vast majority of those claims relating to potholes.
The insurance payouts – totalling £484,476 – were reported to the latest meeting of the county council’s highways and transport cabinet panel, on Tuesday (June 15).
According to data presented to councillors there were 310 highways-related ‘injury’ or ‘non-injury’ claims made against the county council in 2020/21.
But 67 per cent of injury claims and 94 per cent on non-injury claims were ‘repudiated’. And it has since emerged that the £484,476 related to just 28 claims.
According to the data both the number of initial claims made against the county council and the ‘insurance claims incurred’ are lower than in previous years.
In the previous 12 month period (2019/20) there were 1,064 claims made, ultimately resulting in payouts totalling £1.18 million.
And overall data reported to the panel shows that since 2015/16 there have been 7,220 claims made relating to the highways – ultimately resulting in payouts totalling almost £5.8 million.
Potholes are by far the greatest single cause of insurance claims, the data shows. But other causes can include missing bollards, flooding, fencing or railings, kerbs or lighting.
According to the report there have been two ‘large loss claims’ (incurring a total of £100,000 or more) between September 2017 and February this year (2021).
These claims were reported to relate to potholes within the Hertsmere and Broxbourne districts. And both are claims submitted by cyclists.
But according to the report there is ‘no further information regarding these claims’.
After pointing to the ‘almost £6million’ paid out in insurance claims over the six years, Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst asked for more information on the ‘large loss claims’ paid to the two cyclists.
He also highlighted data that showed the number of claims made against the council per year – and the value of the ‘insurance claims incurred’.
In response, Steve Johnson from the council’s highways division said: “What we have noticed over time by working with the insurance section, we did see a high volume of claims coming in a few years ago – these tended to be motoring-related claims for damage to wheels etc. So high volume, but relatively low value.
“You only have to have one or two cycling incidents on the network – they may be rare, but then they do tend to be quite high value because of the level of injuries sustained.”
The data was reported to a virtual meeting of the county council’s highways and transport cabinet panel on Tuesday (June 15). That meeting can be viewed at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/watchmeetings