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Flooding payouts hit £1bn in 2012

Insurers paid out a record £1.19bn for UK flood and storm damage last year

Flooded street and car

Image from the U.S. Geological Survey

New figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have revealed that insurers paid out £1.19bn for flood and storm damage in the UK in 2012 – the highest annual figure for five years.

Nearly 500,000 claims were made by homeowners, businesses, and motorists, with the average payout for flood-damaged properties standing at £18,200.

Figures from the Met Office showed that 2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK after the year 2000.

Claim levels rising

The total claims payout was higher than in 2000 but still short of the mammoth £3bn bill from the floods which hit the country in 2007.

The ABI has for months been in talks with the government over a deal which would prevent around 200,000 homes being left without flood cover. Thousands of householders could see their premiums rise sharply if nothing is agreed.

Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance, said: “Insurers expect bad weather to strike anytime, anywhere and last year highlighted the vital role insurance plays in helping communities recover from our increasingly volatile weather.”

ABI and government plans

Insurers currently provide cover for high-risk properties while the government continues to improve flood defences, an arrangement which comes to an end in June.

The ABI is looking to share the financial risk for the areas with the most homes at significant flood risk – the Environment Agency defines this as a greater than one in 75 chance of flooding in any given year.