Munters has recorded a 30% drop in call-outs for drastic flood damage in the first six months of 2000, compared to the same period last year.

The total number of call-outs grew by 50%, although Munters stress this was due more to its increased market share, rather than rising numbers of claims.

A breakdown of incidents attended by the property restoration specialists, show floods accounted for 16% of emergency attendances since January 2000. In the first half of 1999, the figure was 23%.

Denice Honour, Munters customer relations manager, said last year's figures reflected a greater number of serious storms.

But she said the decline in flood claims had been more than off-set by an increase in leaks from domestic appliances.

Honour said: “In percentage terms, these have more than doubled from 8% in the first six months of 1999 to 21% this year.”

Leaks from domestic appliances are the second major reason for call-outs, behind water pipe bursts at 22%.

But Honour stressed that in terms of cost, a bath or water tank discharge could be many times worse than an appliance leak, which usually affects just the ground floor of a property.

The number of call-outs for carpet spills from wine or food stains has stayed more or less the same as 1999, at 6%.

Honour stated that while most householders prefer to tackle carpet spills themselves, they see the process of cleaning up even minor spills as reason enough for a claim under their insurance contract.