Insurance firms braced for huge European storm claims

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The Independent Online

British insurance companies were today bracing themselves for a flood of claims following the storms which ravaged Europe over the Christmas weekend.

British insurance companies were today bracing themselves for a flood of claims following the storms which ravaged Europe over the Christmas weekend.

Vic Rance, media manager for the Association of British Insurers, said the industry was expecting "tens of millions of pounds' damage" from the UK alone.

The worst hit areas of Britain were the south coast and south west England.

"All the insurance firms will have their helplines working, so claimants will be able to get in touch and the loss adjusters will be out assessing the damage.

"Some UK firms, such as CGU and Royal & Sun Alliance, have operations in Europe so they may face some additional claims on their European business.

"Certainly France and Germany appear to be the countries which have been hardest hit.

In addition to UK firms' involvement in household insurance policies, London insurance market Lloyd's will be taking some of the hits on damage to commercial property.

A Lloyd's spokesman said: "Our insurance syndicates are not massive players in the European market - it only accounts for about 12% of our income - but we will undoubtedly be picking up a share of the claims.

"At this stage it's impossible to say how much but it's likely to be tens of millions rather than hundreds of millions."

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