Insurance claims from December floods exceed 15,000

More than 15,000 insurance claims have now been made for flooded homes and businesses in the wake of December's storms - and 85% of them have been 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 - reflecting 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, the ABI said.

While payments have been made towards 85% of claims so far, the ABI said there are several likely reasons in cases where payments have not yet been made.

These could include a contractor carrying out work who may not yet have yet billed the insurer, or the policy holder may be choosing to plan other improvement works on top of the repairs.

The ABI said flood-damaged properties can take a long time to repair as the building needs to be completely dried out before repairs and rebuilding can start. There also needs to be full decontamination to ensure the property is safe to return to.

A new scheme called Flood Re was recently launched to help householders in high-risk areas find more affordable cover. The scheme is funded by a levy on the industry.

Mark Shepherd, manager of general insurance Policy at the ABI, said: "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."

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