General business claims totalled £840m for the first quarter of this year, with weather damage making up 38% of the amount, fire nearly 27% and theft nearly 25%, according to figures released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The greatest change from the previous quarter was in claims for weather damage which, having peaked at a ten-year high of £745m, fell to £322m.

Domestic fire claims rose sharply in the first quarter from £97m in the previous quarter to £124m, overtaking the cost of commercial fire claims which fell from £136m to £102m.

Malcolm Tarling of the ABI said he was not aware of any large domestic fire losses and knew of no reason why the domestic figure had risen so much.

The theft statistics showed a levelling out of claims at 148,000, but the total amount paid out rose by 13% to £209m, thanks to a 28% increase in domestic claims.

But the ABI said there tended to be a seasonal pattern with theft claims and the yearly increase was only 3%.

No claims or estimates from Lloyd's appear in the figures.