Riot and looting damage will cost UK well over £100m, insurers say

RIOTS across London and other UK cities over the past four days caused “well over £100m” of damage to property and businesses, the insurance industry said yesterday.

As residents and business owners across the capital and cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham counted the cost of days of wrecking and looting, insurers raised their estimates for the total cost of the damage.

The Association of British Insurers initially said the cost of the riots to insurance companies would reach “at least tens of millions” of pounds, but after a day of claims calls into its member companies it raised the total by a factor of ten.

“It is too early for us to have an accurate picture of total costs, especially business interruption costs, but insurers are expecting significant losses,” said the ABI’s director of general protection and health Nick Starling.

Insurers must bear the full cost of the claims unless the government designates the violence since Saturday as a “civil unrest” under the Riot Act, in which case they can claim back the cost of most claims from a public fund.

Commercial UK insurers such as Aviva and RSA, which cover cars, homes and business properties, will bear the brunt of claims, which will cover fire, looting or damage to homes and cars.

Neither firm would comment on the level of claims received so far.

Starling said business insurance policies should cover damage to premises but may also cover interruption to business as a result of ongoing violence.