Second wettest year on record costs insurers £1.9 billion

Flooding and storm damage to homes and businesses cost British insurers £1.9 billion in 2012, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The highest annual figure since 2007 coincided with the wettest year on record for England and Wales, and the second wettest year for the UK as a whole.

Insurers handled 486,000 claims for flood and storm damage from homeowners, businesses and motorists last year - the equivalent of 1,330 a day.

This included 411,000 claims for flood damaged homes and 47,000 business property claims.

The average claim for flood damaged domestic and commercial properties was £18,000, with an average of £1,300 on storm damage.

Key figures from the ABI

  • £690 million was paid out to repair damage and replace ruined possessions in homes
  • £373 million was paid out to damaged businesses
  • A further £40 million was paid in business interruption payments, helping firms to continue trading while premises were repaired
  • 27,000 claims for flood and storm damaged vehicles resulted in an £84 million pay-out to motor insurance customers.

Nick Starling, 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."

"Flooding is [the] greatest natural threat facing the UK and the risk is rising so political consensus and commitment on investment in flood defences, sensible planning decisions and working with the insurance industry is essential."