Cable fault claims up 25% in 2015

WORLDWIDE: Insurance claims exceeding €60 million were made in 2015 in relation to incidents surrounding the installation and operation of high-voltage subsea cables, according to underwriter GCube.

VBMS carried out a cable repair at RWE Innogy's Gwynt y Mor site in 2014
VBMS carried out a cable repair at RWE Innogy's Gwynt y Mor site in 2014

The total claimed in 2015 was 25% higher than the 2014 equivalent.

In a new report, 'Down to the Wire: An Insurance Buyer's Guide to Subsea Cabling Incidents', GCube found since 2008, an average of ten subsea cable failures are declared to insurers every year.

Cable failures contribute to 77% of the losses made by wind projects, according to GCube.

"Managing this financial impact will be essential if the industry is to meet increasingly stringent cost reduction targets and maintain its appeal to the international investment community," the company said.

The report found that two thirds of all reported cases can be put down to contractor error in the installation phase, which may not be noticed until the project is in operation.

"It is striking just how often subsea cabling incidents in offshore wind can be traced back to human error," said the report's author and GCube head of business development, Jatin Sharma.

"Ultimately, when it comes to sharing lessons learned, there's no substitute for full transparency and consistent dialogue between project teams and the industry at large.

"A behavioural shift may be needed when it comes to the risk/reward balance developers agree in supply and installation contracts. In an industry aggressively driving down costs, there is clearly not enough margin for contractors to try and improve," Sharma added.

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