independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Home insurance to soar by 30pc as storm clean-up bill hits €150m

Falling trees have caused serious damage to property around the country. Picture: Damien Eagers
Falling trees have caused serious damage to property around the country. Picture: Damien Eagers

HOUSE, motor and commercial premiums are set to rise by up to 30pc as the clean-up bill for the devastating storm which wreaked havoc nationwide reaches €150m.

And insurers have warned that some high-risk householders and businesses will not be able to obtain cover at all.

Dermot Kelly, chief executive of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA), said the expected high number of claims will act as a "trigger" for price hikes next year.

"Premium hikes were going to happen anyway, but they'll be across the board and in the region of 20 to 30pc. There's an undercurrent in the industry at the moment that there'll be a hardening of rates," he said.

"This storm and the weather we've had will trigger increases sooner rather than later.

"We've had an increase in the number of weather events in the last few years, so I can see insurers begin to price them into the cover. Between flooding, snow and now the storm, they've become regular weather events in the past few years and tend to be seen as the new norm," he said.

The comments come as insurance companies brace themselves for huge claims in the aftermath of Ireland's worst winter storm for 15 years, which caused chaos for travellers and left more than 78,000 homes without power.

"Given the severity of the storm, we're expecting claim figures in the region of €150m. The major snow and flooding events in the past two years have required settlement figures in that region," said Mr Kelly.

The Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) said it will be six to eight weeks before the full scale of the damage caused to homes, businesses and other premises is known. However, it believes the cost will be significant, with insurers bracing themselves for a deluge of claims.

DAMAGE

The insurance sector insists the State must play its part in protecting communities against future damage, particularly amid warnings about an increase in flooding due to climate change.

Eamonn Downey, president of the Irish Claims Consultants Association (ICCA) also believes the overall cost could reach €150m.

"We've had commercial properties and hospitals that have lost their roofs, and they could cost up to €100,000 to repair. The average householder will be looking at claims of around €5,000."

Commercial costs will be high following storm-force winds, especially when loss of profits is factored in, he said.

He advised those who have suffered property damage to contact their insurers as quickly as possible, giving details of the damage caused and any estimates they have already received for repairs.

Irish Independent

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