UK Insurance Industry Prepares for Winter Floods

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) announced last week that UK insurers have a small army of people ready to go into immediate action in the event of any flooding this winter.

The UK suffered severe flooding during the 2015 to 2016 winter when it was hit by a series of storms, starting with Storm Desmond on 04 December.

A recent study carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in collaboration with the British Hydrological Society said that that the 2015/2016 floods were the worst to hit the UK in a century.

With last winter’s flooding on the minds of many, the ABI is reassuring people that insurers have thousands of staff on standby to deal with severe flooding this year. This includes 2,750 people to handle calls about claims, with phone lines staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and 2,250 people available to send in on the ground to support customers, assess damage and initiate repairs.

Insurers have immediate access to tens of thousands of drying machines and equipment to start the vital process of drying out flooded premises, with many more thousands in reserve. Contracts with hotels and letting agents ensure people whose homes have flooded can be given somewhere warm and dry to stay with only a few hours’ notice, ahead of more long-term alternative accommodation being found.

The insurance industry also takes the lead on finding the many thousands of builders, decorators and other contractors needed to dry out and restore people’s homes and businesses.

Huw Evans, ABI Director General, said:

“Floods are devastating – for families, for businesses and for whole communities. Last winter’s storms were a stark reminder of how vulnerable we can be to the forces of nature and insurers have already been helping those affected by Storm Angus last month.

“We all hope not to see a repeat of last winter’s storms, but if the worst happens insurers are ready to help, on the phone and in person, whatever time of the day or night the flood waters come. The trauma of flooding can be long-lasting because of the unavoidable time it takes to properly repair a home or business swamped by water, so this is also a crucial time to make sure you are aware of any flood risk in your area, and that you consider steps to protect yourself and your property.”

Winter Storms 2015 – The Statistics

Damage caused by Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank that battered parts of Britain between early December 2015 and early January 2016 will lead to insurers paying out £1.3 billion in customer claims. 98% of insurance claims were fully or partly settled 10 months after the floods.

The storms resulted in more than 15,300 insurance claims for flooded properties and around 6,600 claims for flood damaged vehicles.

3,900 families were placed in alternative accommodation, paid for through their insurance. The average cost of repairing each flooded home is expected to be £50,000.

Emergency payments worth £49 million were made to businesses in the first few weeks to support them as they got back on their feet.

Source: ABI