1947 flood would have resulted in insured losses of £4.5bn to £6bn if it reoccurred today

Despite the widespread devastation caused by this summer's UK floods, the damage is not yet as costly as the March 1947 floods, which would have resulted in insured losses of £4.5bn to £6bn if it reoccurred today, according to Risk Management Solutions (RMS).

RMS estimates the floods in late June cost over £750m in insured losses, and that the current floods will be at least as costly.

RMS said: “While it seems that the number of affected properties is less than June's flood, a combination of factors such as higher average claims and proportion of damage which is insured, together with business interruption caused by loss of power and running water, are expected to be higher, and could take the total insured loss for late June and July to over £2bn.”

“Therefore, although the situation is ongoing and more flooding could occur, it is highly unlikely that the total damage so far this summer will be as great as from the 1947 event, which affected nearly all the main rivers in the south, midlands and northeast of England.”

Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer at RMS, commented: "Premiums charged by insurers do not fully reflect the flood risk to which properties are exposed. This summer's floods have exposed many shortcomings in flood risk management and the location of critical infrastructure like power stations and water treatment plants, which have been shown to be vulnerable. The catastrophe risk models that have been developed for the insurance industry to assess flood risk today should now be employed to help reduce the impacts of floods in a climate change future."