BRITISH insurers say they are expecting to pay out more than £520 million to help victims recover after Storm Desmond.
Emergency payouts of £2.6 million have already been made to people and businesses for immediate needs such as food, clothing, staff salaries, domestic appliances and Christmas gifts, says the Association of British Insurers.
Thousands of homes and business were flooded in Cumbria and other parts of northern England and the Scottish borders during the worst of the storm on 4 and 5 December.
The ABI, whose members represent 81 per cent of the industry, says there have been 23,700 claims for property damaged by the storm or its floods, with just over 4,000 of the claims relating to businesses.
Of the emergency payments made so far, £1.7 million has been to domestic customers and £900,000 to businesses. There have also been 2,800 motor vehicle claims.
More than 4,500 initial visits have been made by loss adjusters, who handle the more severe claims. Previous floods in Cumbria cost the insurance industry £272 million in 2005 and £276 million in 2009.
Storm Desmond’s £520 million payout is for a larger affected area but Cumbria suffered the worst of the damage.
The flooding in 2007, which affected large parts of Northern Ireland, Yorkshire, The Midlands, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and South Wales, resulted in 185,000 claims with a total cost of £3 billion.
James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “Following Storm Desmond, insurers and their representatives have been there beside those affected to provide practical help and support as quickly as possible.
“Being flooded is hugely traumatic and insurers have worked round the clock to get the repair process under way, provide immediate payments to people affected and find families somewhere warm and dry to stay.
“The flood waters have mostly receded but for affected families and businesses the impact is going to be felt for months. Insurers and their expert teams will be there for the long haul to help communities rebuild and repair.
Meanwhile, Tesco revealed it had built a 10,000 sq ft store in just one week as a temporary replacement after a superstore in Carlisle was badly affected by the floods.
UK chief executive Matt Davies said: “We wanted to make sure that people in Carlisle were not left without the service our store provides in the run up to Christmas and have worked extremely hard to get the temporary store up and running.”
Source: Guardian News