General Insurance Article - NFU Mutual claims on Storm Ciara reach GBP20m

The UK’s leading insurer of the countryside and mutual insurer, NFU Mutual, has received more than 2,800 claims for Storm Ciara and currently estimates the total claims pay-outs to its customers to be in the region of £20million.

 Approximately 90% are personal home insurance claims for significant storm damage including fallen trees damaging property, damage to roofs and tiles, water ingress and chimneys being blown over. There were 170 claims for vehicles and just over 150 claims for flood-related damage. 

 The estimated costs are almost double that of Storm Doris which wreaked havoc on the UK during February 2017, resulting in over £11.5m worth of pay-outs to NFU Mutual’s customers. The November 2019 flooding cost the insurer £3m.

 While Storm Ciara caused widespread damage across the UK and a higher number of storm claims to NFU Mutual, Storm Dennis has brought concentrations of heavy rain in localised areas, causing more flood claims than storm claims.

 NFU Mutual has received more than 1,000 claims for Storm Dennis so far. It is too early to estimate the total cost as customers continue to make claims and loss adjusters visit customers to assess the damage. However, the majority of claims are for to flood damage to homes, which is typically much more expensive to repair and often averages in the region of £20,000. The total damage is not likely to be as costly as Storm Desmond in 2015, which cost the insurer £36m.

 Paul Branch, Head of Claims at leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, 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 £20m to help our customers get back into their homes and businesses as quickly as possible. Suffering damage or being displaced from your home can be an extremely distressing time, so we move rapidly to help our communities, arranging alternative accommodation and making emergency payments.

 “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.

 “The clean-up operation is a nationwide team effort and our network of over 300 local offices continue to be out in force, helping customers in their communities to get claims underway, emergency accommodation arranged, damage quickly assessed and repairs and drying out started without delay.”

 Andy Hilditch, Agent at Usk NFU Mutual on the River Usk in Monmouthshire, affected by the flooding, said: “I’ve been working here since 1991 and this flood damage is the worst we’ve experienced. One of our customers was badly affected in October 2019 with storm damage and have now been flooded with 22ft of water following the storm, it’s been truly awful for them so we’re pulling out all the stops to help them.

 “Following Storm Dennis this weekend we’ve received around 35 serious flood claims. Our claims handlers have been fantastic and have worked extremely hard to provide an excellent service to our customers, staying late on Monday to ensure all the claims from our affected customers were processed to ensure they can get back to their homes and businesses as soon as possible.

 “I visited a local garden centre on Monday morning following the storm to help assess the damage, and our property restoration partners are already visiting the site today (19th February) to start clean up and restoration.

 “I’m so proud of the service we have provided for our customers following the storm, knowing our customers have received the best possible service from my team at a really difficult time for them. The loss adjusters have also been coming from all over the country, as far as North England, to visit customers and assess the damage to make sure they are supported as quickly as possible.”

 NFU Mutual provides flood resilience repairs as standard in all of its home insurance policies with buildings cover, meaning cover has been provided to nearly 400,000 properties since its introduction in 2018.

 Flood victims can claim up to £5,000 to protect their home from future damage if the initial flood caused at least £10,000 worth of damage. It includes measures such as moving plug sockets higher up the wall and installing one-way valves on waste drains to stop backflow coming through toilets and sinks.

 Paul concluded: “As a mutual insurer we’re here for our members and take pride in delivering long-term solutions for them, and our flood resilience measures are proving hugely beneficial for homeowners. We’re proud to give our customers the peace of mind that if disaster strikes twice, or more, they will be back in a clean, dry home much sooner than before.”

 NFU Mutual also plans to issue figures for damage as a result of Storm Dennis later this week. 

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