Thursday 20 February 2020 4:20 pm

Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara could cost insurance industry £425m

The cost to the insurance industry of Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara which battered the UK in recent weeks could hit £425m.

Storm Ciara swept across the UK on 9 February bringing heavy rain and gusts of wind of up to 97 mph.

It was followed by Storm Dennis on the weekend of 15 February which brought strong winds and heavy rain, leading to flooding across areas such as south Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PwC, said: “Clearly there has been far more flood damage from Storm Dennis compared to Storm Ciara – which was mainly wind damage. Unfortunately, due to the continuing rainfall there is greater risk of further flooding.”

Read more: Storm Dennis causes travel disruption around the UK

The Environment Agency said today that further spells of rain this weekend and early next week may lead to “further significant river flooding”, across the north, while ongoing river flooding remains probable for the lower Severn for the remainder of the week.

“Although it is still very early to assess the full impact of the severe weather, our initial estimates for UK insurance losses due to Storm Dennis are approximately £175m to £225m,” Khan said.

“This is additional to the estimated £150m – £200m of insurance losses caused by Storm Ciara,” he added.

Read more: Storm Ciara latest: Man dies after tree hits car

Insurer Aviva said its contact centre received five-times its normal volume of calls last Sunday, with the majority of them storm damage claims related to Storm Ciara.

It said it had received a lower level of claims in relation to Storm Dennis, but said it was seeing more customers affected by flooding, which accounted for 15-20 per cent of claims so far.

A spokesperson for insurer RSA said: “We have seen more claims as a result of Storm Dennis and we’re working hard to help those affected. We’re still assessing the full impact, but the claims we’ve seen so far are largely in different areas to those affected by Storm Ciara, with communities affected in the Midlands, south Wales and Scotland.”

Keith Pearlman, a partner at law firm DMH Stallard, said: “Horrific weather, with the awful prospect of more to come in both the short and longer term, continues to cause devastation to homes and businesses. For those affected by the torrential downpours, immediate contact should be made with their insurers to check if, in the most serious incidents of flooding of residential properties, they can be rehoused and that their furniture and belongings are covered by their policy.

“In the case of businesses tenants, they should contact their landlords who are generally obliged under a lease to insure against flooding. In the first instance, the landlord will need to either submit a claim or, more likely, put their tenant in direct contact with the insurers.”