UK: Record-Breaking Surge in Weather Damage Claims Leaves Home Insurers Reeling With £573 Million in Losses

By Trisha Andrada

Apr 15, 2024 05:59 AM EDT

A row of four cottages which had their roofs ripped off during storm Ciaran, on November 2, 2023 in St Martin, Jersey.
(Photo : Christian Keenan/Getty Images)

Weather-related house insurance claims in the United Kingdom reached a record £573 million ($715 million) last year due to storms and severe rain, according to industry statistics.

The unprecedented number of claims highlights the difficulty that homeowners and businesses are facing as a result of climate change, which is seen in the increasing rates.

High Winds, Flying Debris, and Floods Caused Damage to Many Properties

Data released on Monday, April 15, by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that a series of storms last October and November caused damage to many properties due to high winds and flying debris. Subsequent widespread flooding added £286 million ($357 million) to the total cost.

ABI policy advisor Louise Clark said that in light of the ongoing climate change, extreme weather occurrences may not seem as uncommon as they once did. She added that insurers will keep pushing the government for flood defense funding and planning system modifications to prevent development in at-risk regions.

According to the Financial Times, property insurers distributed £4.9 billion ($6.1 billion) to individuals and companies last year, with homeowners receiving over 50% of that total. More than a third more claims were attributed to weather-related damage to residences compared to the previous year. This includes claims resulting from fires, break-ins, and water leaks.

Claims connected to weather were £443 million ($553 million) for UK firms last year, which is almost half the amount of fire damage claims.

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Insurers Struggle to React to Extreme Weather, Rebuilding Costs Due to Climate Change

Due to climate change-related severe weather and reconstruction cost increases, the insurance industry is struggling to adapt.

Aon reported a record 37 severe weather occurrences worldwide last year that resulted in payments of more than $1 billion apiece, with storms, floods, and wildfires being a particular difficulty for insurers.

In order to cover the dramatic increase in payments in recent years, UK insurers have raised rates. In the fourth quarter of 2023, the average yearly premium for buildings and contents insurance in the UK was £364, according to the most recent statistics from the ABI. This represents a growth of slightly less than 5% year-on-year.

READ MORE: Mortgage Applications Fall 5.6% As Higher Rates Deter Homeowners and Buyers

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