Commenting on the impact of Storm Desmond, Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PwC UK, stated that the accounting firm’s “current estimate of the damage caused by Storm Desmond is £400 million – £500 million [$600 – $750.2 million] with the insurance industry paying out between £250 million [$375 million] and £325 million [$487.35 million].”
He compared those loss estimates with those of the floods in 2009, which caused economic losses of £275 million |$412.6 million] and insurer costs of £175 million [$262.57 million].
“Clearly these are initial estimates as there is still uncertainty as to the number of properties and businesses affected,” Khan cautioned. “If the storm continues, the damage – and therefore the costs – could be significantly worse.
“Any additional rainfall – even 1cm-2cm – could cause flash flooding in rain affected areas as the ground is already saturated with water. This could compound the damage that has already been caused by Storm Desmond. Insurers of affected policyholders have mobilized their claims managers in flood affected areas to try to ensure they can deal with claims and arrange alternative accommodation as quickly as possible where needed. It is now common practice for insurers to get their rapid response claims teams out to flood hit sites following criticism of the industry during the 2007 floods.”
Khan also urged affected policyholders to “still call their insurers as quickly as possible to ensure that their insurer knows they are affected and inform them before paying for or commencing any emergency repairs.”
Domenico Del Re, catastrophe risk management leader at PwC UK, added an additional warning on the possible effects of climate change in causing the floods. “Although we have had significant flood and storm events in the UK over the last decade, this is the first time the MET office has attributed these unprecedented levels of rainfall to changes in the climate,” he said.
“This has far reaching impacts on how the insurance industry assesses flood risk on a forward-looking basis,” Del Rey continued. “All flood events provide additional data and insight to be used in modelling, and the industry will need to assess if their current models capture any heightened risk.
“From April 2016, flood homeowners in flood affected areas will be able to experience more affordable premiums thanks to the launch of the Flood Re scheme which will enable every household insurer to provide flood insurance at an affordable price. The scheme is not available to all – in particular businesses, who are advised to take action and understand their exposure to flood and take remedial actions where possible.”
Source: PwC UK
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