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Copper thieves have fueled an explosion of claims for insurers of vacant and idle properties, but increased loss potential has not deterred competition in either the residential or commercial vacant-property insurance markets, two special-risk experts say.

During a webinar titled “The New Edifice of Vacant Property: Protecting Asset Value as Commercial Real Estate Slowly Recovers” presented by PropertyCasualty360.com, Jeff Shearman, senior risk-engineering consultant for Zurich Services Corp., reports that Zurich saw “a big spike in copper claims when the price of scrap copper went over $3 per pound.”

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