About 5,800 properties flooded since December

The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe flood warnings along the Thames as water levels continue to rise.

About 70 properties have flooded along the Thames since yesterday afternoon and this figure is set to increase further today.

Some 5,800 properties have flooded since the beginning of December, with more than 1,000 of those since 29 January.

The Environment Agency said flood defences had protected more than 1.3m homes and businesses from flooding and 2,500sqkm of farmland.

Flooded towns along the Thames include Datchet, Wraysbury and Chertsey.

Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire and parts of Surrey are at risk today.

About 100 properties remain flooded on the Somerset Levels, where extra pumps are being brought in from Holland to help reduce levels on the River Parrett and Tone.

Analysts have warned that flooding along the Thames could make things much tougher for the industry as it will start to include business interruption claims.

“Although the events in the South West, and in particular Somerset, have been tragic for those concerned, we believe that the losses were manageable for the general insurance industry,” said Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan.

“However, once we note parts of the Thames flooding then we believe that things could get materially tougher for the industry.

“The housing levels are more dense and the insured values are getting higher. In addition, once we see town centres getting flooded then the risk of commercial losses starts to rise, with the all-damaging business interruption claims the fear of most insurers.”

On Monday, PwC increased its estimate of how much the floods would cost the insurance industry by £100m to £500m.

Loss adjustor Cunningham Lindsey’s 24-hour emergency help line reported a sixfold increase in claims volumes yesterday, with 90% of those low value storm claims.