’We will continue to support our customers affected by Storm Babet,’ says claims director

Ageas UK has revealed how it used technology to reduce waiting times amid a rise in claims due to Storm Babet.

The storm struck parts of eastern Scotland last week (19 and 20 October 2023), with a red weather warning being issued due to heavy rain and strong winds.

This led to flooding in the region – and Ageas told Insurance Times that it had seen an increase in claims over the weekend as a result.

The insurer said technology had assisted its claims response, with it giving customers the option to report claims through a new online storm hub.

It also used its rapid settlement tool to help claims be paid out quicker.

The tool has been designed to help claims handlers assess the damage to a customer’s home and calculate how much it would cost to repair as quickly as possible.

“Our rapid settlement tool allows us to cash-settle some of the more simple storm claims much faster and I heard of one that was settled in less than an hour on Saturday,” Stephen Linklater, claims director at Ageas UK, said.

“We’ve also given customers the option to report storm claims online.

“Understandably, those with significant damage have generally preferred to speak to us on the phone for the verbal support and reassurance we can provide, but we have seen around 1 in 10 of our storm claims reported online in recent days.”

Build Back Better

This came after the Met Office issued a further weather warning for parts of Scotland this week.

In its yellow weather warning, it said that persistent and occasionally heavy rain may lead to some flooding and transport disruption in places.

Linklater said his firm was working to support those affected with both their immediate and longer-term needs.

“This includes raising emergency payments to allow them to buy clothes and other items and arranging alternative accommodation for those whose homes are severely affected,” he added

“For claims where we anticipate high levels of damage, we are appointing specialist loss adjusters to help customers throughout the process and if Build Back Better is applicable to customers affected by flooding, we will be offering this to them.”

Launched in April 2022, Build Back Better offers householders the opportunity to install property flood resilience measures up to the value of £10,000 when repairing their properties after a flood.

Linklater said that “extreme weather is becoming more common” and employees had been cancelling weekend plans to help assist with the Ageas’ response.

“We will continue to support our customers affected by Storm Babet, and, more broadly, continue our work looking at how we can protect customers from the impact of extreme weather,” he added.