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Insurers count the cost of UK’s wettest winter

Weather-related insurance claims have jumped to a ten-year high following severe storms and widespread flooding

Friday 28 February 2014

Insurers count the cost of UK’s wettest winterThe number of weather-related insurance claims submitted during the closing quarter of 2013 reached a 10-year high.

New data from the Association of British Insurers shows that almost 200,000 claims relating to weather damage were submitted by property owners between October and December.

Storms take their toll
James Rakow, an insurance partner at business advisory firm Deloitte, said 198,000 claims were made overall, as the UK endured days of storms and flooding.

He said the total was the strongest recorded during the fourth quarter of a year for a decade, while it was more than double the figure witnessed in the corresponding period of 2012, when only 89,000 claims were seen.

Wettest winter on record
While householders were forced to pick up the pieces following the St Jude storm in the autumn, the gales and torrential downpours have continued into 2014.

With the South West and the Thames Valley severely impacted by floods, the Met Office recently announced that the 2013/14 winter has officially been the wettest since records began more than 100 years ago.

Volatile conditions
Mr Rakow said:
“The storms and heavy rain in January and February this year are likely to result in the highest number of first quarter claims since the terrible storms of 1990.

“These figures highlight the volatility of weather damage claims. The weather was generally good during the first nine months of 2013, with relatively few storms and floods until the St Jude’s storm of October.”

Wider economic consequences
This winter has seen around 6,500 properties flooded in total, while farmers have been forced to deal with damaged crops and machinery.

However, the impact has not been confined to home and landowners, with businesses and the tourism industry in southern regions of England affected by disruptions to travel services.

Although a spell of dry weather has enabled insurers and the Environment Agency to try to address the damage caused by flooding, two severe warnings remain in place in Somerset.

A further 14 less severe warnings are still active in other parts of England.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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