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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Flood insurance losses ‘to top £1bn this year’

Losses from last month’s flooding in England and Wales are expected to make 2012 the costliest flood insurance year since 2007, Aon Benfield revealed yesterday.

Floods insurance cover risk
Photo: iSTOCK

The reinsurer’s latest monthly Global catastrophe recap report cited figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers which had put the cost of the flooding to insurers at up to £500m.

This would raise UK flood insurance losses for 2012 to around £1bn – the highest total since 2007 when over £3bn worth of claims were processed, according to the report, compiled by Impact Forecasting.

Last month also saw excessive rain lead to flooding along the Drava and Sava in Slovenia and neighbouring Croatia. This damaged more than 4,500 structures and resulted in an estimated economic loss of €209m.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: ‘Europe traditionally suffers periods of flooding throughout the year, and since it is a highly insurable peril across a large proportion of the continent, insurance losses can be significant.’

In Central America, last month saw a magnitude-7.4 earthquake strike off the coast of Guatemala, killing at least 52 people and affecting at least 30,870 homes. Over $102m was made available to assist with the recovery.

There was also a magnitude-6.8 earthquake in northern Burma which killed 26 people and damaged thousands of homes and other structures. Around $1.17m was made available for disaster relief, the report noted.

Australia was hit by two periods of severe weather, with one particularly affecting areas of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. ‘Softball-sized’ hail caused ‘significant damage’, while flash floods and high winds damaged trees and power lines.

According to local insurers, 10,000 home and auto claims have already been filed and payouts are expected to reach at least $105m.