Cost of winter storms in UK revealed by ABI

Taylor Scott International News

Residential and commercial property owners in the UK are being urged to make sure they understand flood insurance cover after the full cost of the latest winter storms were revealed. The number of insurance claims for flooded homes and businesses made in the wake of December’s storms has climbed to more than 15,000 with 85% of these either fully or partly paid out so far, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The average cost of each domestic claim for the floods caused by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank is around £50,000 which is higher than usual and reflects the extensive damage caused by the flood waters in some locations. Insurers are spending nearly £27.5 million on alternative accommodation for affected families while their properties are repaired. The final bill for all repairs is expected to reach £1.3 billion. ‘Being flooded is horribly traumatic, not only because of the initial devastation but also because of the time it can take to get your home and business fully repaired and back in working order,’ said Mark Shepherd, manager of General Insurance Policy at the ABI. ‘Insurers are committed to getting all customers back in their properties as safely and as quickly as possible and it’s good to know that thousands of homes and businesses are getting back to normal nearly six months on. Small businesses are the lifeblood of many local economies and insurers have been working flat out to get many open and trading again,’ he explained. ‘Repairing a flooded building cannot be rushed because of the importance of making sure it is properly dried out before repairs are done. The work needed to fully restore every single property affected in December continues with the same sense of urgency as in the immediate aftermath,’ he added. According to the ABI the drying stage is one of the most important parts of the repair process, and it can take a significant amount of time. When properties are flooded by several feet of water, it gets deep into the brickwork and structure of the building. The building needs to be completely dried out before repairs and rebuilding start, and that means dry deep into the walls, not just dry at the surface. It added that although new technology is being used more often to speed this process up where possible but it isn’t always suitable for all properties and repairs done to a property which isn’t completely dry may create future problems for the owner or resident. There also needs to be full decontamination to ensure the property is safe to return to. Where properties aren’t ready for people to return to them, insurers will be funding alternative accommodation as required. Some people may choose to live in the upper storeys of their property or to stay with friends or family members instead. Businesses may also be offered alternative premises to trade from for a period. Payments have been made towards 85% of claims. Where payments… Taylor Scott International

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