Claims from flooding rose dramatically in 1999, according to the property restoration company Munters.

The company had to deal with twice as many calls for assistance last year than in 1998. And the proportion that related to river and drain claims jumped substantially.

While only five per cent of call-outs related to flooding in 1998, the number jumped to 23% last year.

Customer relations manager Denise Honour said: "The predictions on global warming lead us to expect that flooding will only get worse as our winters become wetter and the summer months are also seeing higher rainfall levels.

"Over the millennium holiday period we had the equivalent of three weeks' claims with floods in one part of the country and frozen pipes in another."

Munters found that water tank leaks rose, pipe and radiator leaks went down slightly and washing machine claims declined from 15 to eight per cent.

"Flooding dishwashers and washing machines are a consistent source of domestic damage. This percentage decline must be seen in term of the rise in the number of claims overall," added Honour.