After three storms caused £1.3bn of damage around the festive period in 2015, insurers are ready to respond to any flooding that takes place this year

Insurers say they are ready to respond to any damage caused by flooding over this Christmas period.

It is only two years since storms Desmond, Eva and Frank struck in quick succession throughout December 2015, with much of the worst damage happening on Boxing Day. Insurers spent £1.3bn repairing and replacing customers’ flooded homes, businesses, vehicles and belongings damaged by the three storms.

And this year, with storm Dylan approaching, 60mph winds are expected to hit Scotland this week, then even stronger winds are forecast across the UK between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

With 1 in 6 properties in England and Wales at risk of flooding, and 1 in 22 homes at risk in Scotland, the ABI says it is crucial that people monitor weather warnings and flood advice throughout the Christmas period and ensure they have plans in place for how they can keep themselves and their properties safe if a flood is expected.

The industry’s flood response plans include:

  • Around 2,750 staff available to handle calls about claims, with emergency phone lines available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Another 2,250 staff available to send in on the ground to support customers, assess damage and initiate repairs
  • Tens of thousands of drying machines and other vital equipment on standby to be sent to affected areas and start the work of drying out premises as quickly as possible
  • Contracts with hotels and letting agents ensure emergency accommodation can be provided at short notice, ahead of more long-term alternative accommodation being found where needed
  • Millions of pounds ready for emergency payments to keep businesses going in the first few weeks after a flood and to ensure families affected have immediate access to funds for essentials such as clothes and food

Laura Hughes, senior policy adviser for property insurance at the ABI said:

“Sadly, the weather cannot be relied upon to respect festive traditions. As hundreds of people found out over the festive period in 2015, severe flooding can happen at any time of year and if it happens during the holidays, empty homes and businesses can be left even more vulnerable to damage.

“Insurers have thousands of staff ready to respond to floods whenever they happen, 365 days a year. As you are getting ready for Christmas this year – don’t forget to make sure your flood preparations are also all wrapped up.”

The ABI recently published a blueprint for reducing flood risk in new properties.