Insurer expecting to pay out £20m in claims for Storms Ciara and Dennis

An insurance company has said it is expecting to pay out around £20 million in claims for damage caused by storms Ciara and Dennis.

NFU Mutual, which insures many homes and businesses in rural areas, has received more than 2,800 claims in the wake of Storm Ciara and a further 1,000 related to Storm Dennis.

Around 90% of the claims are for personal home insurance related to severe damage including fallen trees, damage to roofs and chimneys being blown over.

The firm said while Storm Ciara prompted more claims for storm damage due to heavy winds, the subsequent storm brought heavy rain in localised areas causing more flood claims.

Flood damage
Flood damage is more expensive to repair than other storm-related damage, NFU Mutual said (Ben Birchall/PA)

Fellow insurer Aviva saw a 285% surge in calls and claims after the damage caused by Storm Ciara.

Insurers have said it is too early to estimate the total cost of the damage from the two storms, but NFU Mutual said flood damage is expensive to repair, averaging £20,000 per claim.

Following widespread flooding in Yorkshire and the Midlands in 2019, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimated claims would cost insurers up to £110 million.

Storm Doris in February 2017 cost £11.5 million in payouts from NFU Mutual as the cost of Storm Desmond in 2016 reached £36 million.

In December 2016, Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank hit areas of the UK and cost fellow insurer Direct Line between £110 million and £140 million in claims.

Flooding cuased by Storm Dennis
Storm Dennis brought widespread flooding (Jacob King/PA)

Paul Branch, NFU Mutual head of claims, said: “Storm Ciara is one of the worst storms to hit the UK for several years and we’ll be paying out in the region of £20 million to help our customers get back into their homes and businesses as quickly as possible.

“Even at this early stage we are also aware of more than 1,000 claims for Storm Dennis, and we expect the numbers to continue to increase as more customers submit their claims for damage.

“The number of severe flood warnings is decreasing with water starting to make its way to rivers, so thankfully we’re expecting the situation on the ground to start getting better for most regions.

“We remain concerned about customers in Tewkesbury, Wales and Herefordshire and the Lake District, particularly given early indications for Storm Ellen taking us through to the weekend, so we’re monitoring the situation and preparing to engage our teams again.”

Winter weather Feb 18th 2020
Emergency services evacuated some of the hardest hit by the floods (Ben Birchall/PA)

The (ABI) has advised people facing damage or flooding to contact their insurer as soon as possible.

Many insurers have 24-hour emergency helplines and they may be able to arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse.

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