They may cost the insurance industry millions of pounds, but the floods that ravaged the south of England recently have proved good news for insurers.
Several insurers including Royal & Sunalliance and Independent Insurance say they have received very good feedback from customers because of the way claims have been handled.
“It's a positive news story,” says Graham Sutton marketing director at Independent. “The reaction we've been getting from customers has been exceptionally good.
“In one news item I saw, the presenter was trying to lead a flood victim into criticising the insurance industry, but the guy just said ‘no, the insurers have been brilliant'. It makes a nice change.”
Steve Broughton, managing director of RSA's intermediated business, adds: “Everybody has been incredibly im-pressed with the way we as an industry have covered the floods.
“I think we can be proud of the way we have tackled the problem and that's a great news story. We've had a lot of good feedback coming back from clients.”
And the cost of the floods is likely to be far less than some media have claimed. Reports have suggested that the floods will cost billions of pounds in claims. One article even said the floods would cost £4bn.
But the Association of British Insurers says it expects the claims to total between £25m and £30m. Around 1,000 properties are likely to be damaged.
Marc Donfrancesco, of loss adjusters Property & Casualty Services, said the floods came at a perfect time for insurers because it was a quiet period for most insurers.
Meanwhile, the industry has also gained friends in powerful places after Albion Insurance's loss adjusters Ashworth Mairs presented organic meat farmer Colin Staplehurst with a cheque for £10,000.
Staplehurst then met Prince Edward the Duke of Wessex who was on a walkabout in the area to meet flood victims.
“I lost no time telling Prince Edward about Albion's claim service,” Staplehurst said.