Insurance claims relating to the storms and flooding that occurred over the Christmas and new year period have reached £426m, with more expected over the coming weeks.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that this total is beaten only by the Great Storm of 1987, which cost insurers around £2 billion in today’s terms.
According to the ABI, around 174,000 claims were made in respect of damage to homes, vehicles and businesses between December 23 and January 8.
Aidan Kerr, the ABI’s assistant director, “Insurers are playing a crucial role in helping customers affected by the storms and floods recover.
“Together with loss adjusters, insurers reacted quickly to help flood victims get through Christmas. Insurers will continue to work closely with customers to ensure the repair process is completed as soon as possible”.
He added, “This was a traumatic event for those affected, and shows the importance of having adequate property insurance. The insurance industry is fully prepared to deal with the damage caused by bad weather like this.”
Environment secretary Owen Paterson has recently come under attack by campaign groups and various other MPs after cuts to the flood defences have seen dramatic cuts in recent years, despite some of the worst flooding in decades.
In a report that highlighted the economic impact of natural disasters, published in May, the UN estimated that over $100 billion (£66 billion) had been lost in the last three years alone.