Storm Bella claims volume ‘significant’ say loss adjusters

Flood sign

Late 2020’s storm Bella has driven a “significant” number of claims, loss adjusters told Post, though damage was not witnessed on the scale of storms Ciara and Dennis.

Storm Bella hit Ireland and the UK on Boxing Day, bringing high winds and heavy rain before tracking into parts of Northwest Europe. Gusts of 106mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight.

The storm followed days of heavy rainfall across parts of Devon, south Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia, exacerbating flood problems in these areas, according to the Met Office.

More than 45,000 homes and businesses were left without power due to the windstorm, RMS estimated.

Transport links faced disruption due to fallen trees.

Loss adjusters told Post that UK claim numbers were “significant” but not on the same level as those from storms Ciara and Dennis, which hit the UK in 2020 costing the industry around £363m according to an Association of British Insurers estimate.

A majority of the claims Crawford received were for flooding (62%) rather than storm (38%), the loss adjuster told Post, with most claims arising in the East Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Midlands.

A “vast majority” of Crawford’s flood claims were received prior to the storm on 23 and 24 December. Some policyholders had been affected by flooding before.

Crawford head of general property, Andrew Shaw, explained: “Some of the customers affected have unfortunately been through this before so they know what to expect and were able to move contents upstairs to prepare for the flooding when the warnings went out. 

“Some of the properties have also had flood resilient repairs carried out previously, which will help speed up the reinstatement works. Our adjusters are aware that customers may want to utilise flood resilient repairs, rather than standard repair methods and will work with insurers and local authorities on this issue.”

Lockdown restrictions

Loss adjuster Sedgwick also reported claims concentrated in the South East, South West and East of England and Wales. However, it said most of its 1500 claims related to storm damage to property, with just over 600 of them for flooding.

The overall split was 75% domestic claims and 25% commercial property claims, Sedgwick told Post.

Neil Gibson, chief operating officer, Sedgwick International UK, said: “The new tier four and subsequent full lockdown restrictions have meant we are offering digital visits wherever possible and especially for those customers who have been unable or reluctant to receive an adjuster visit. 

“Our adjusting teams are equipped with all necessary personal protective equipment to help manage claims in the most affected areas, but for obvious reasons, we’re adopting a safety-first approach for customers and colleagues.”

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