Insurers 'could pay out half a billion pounds' following spate of storms

Companies have been sent 48,700 claims, the Association of British Insurers said.

A spate of recent storms is likely to cost the UK’s insurance companies more than half a billion pounds, the industry trade body has said.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the firms have estimated they will pay out approximately £560m to cover the damage by storms Babet, Ciaran and Debi.

Around £352m of this will be paid to people whose homes were damaged, £155m will go to damaged businesses and £53m will be paid out to cover vehicle damage.

“The only thing to expect from our weather is the unexpected. Insurers are ready for bad weather to strike at any time,” said Louise Clark, the ABI’s policy adviser on property insurance.

“From making emergency payments, arranging any emergency temporary accommodation, drying out and decontaminating flooded homes and businesses and organising repairs, insurers’ support continues long after the bad weather subsides, until their customers get back on their feet.”

Cat stuck in flood as Storm Babet sees bad weather across Scotland with rain
A vehicle is stuck in a flooded street in Brechin, northeast Scotland, on October 20, 2023 as Storm Babet batters the country. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The ABI said companies have been sent 48,700 claims. Of these, 36,100 were for home insurance, 5,370 business claims and 7,210 for vehicle damage.

The storms, which took place in October and November, had forced companies to provide temporary accommodation for 1,460 families, while they had paid out 1,770 emergency payments totalling £5m.

The claims are more than the £497m caused by three storms in February 2022 and the £543m paid out for storms in early 2020.

“We may not be able to stop bad weather, but we can be more resilient to it. That is why some insurers support the Build Back Better initiative that enables flood resilient measures to be installed when repairing properties after a flood,” Ms Clark said.

“The government also has a role to play by ensuring that the planning system discourages building in flood-vulnerable areas.

“We also need building regulations that make our homes more resilient to climate change challenges like floods and storms.”

The ABI estimates the claim figures based on data from around four fifths of its members.

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