Flood clean-up bill will reach record €250m, insurers claim
THE clean-up bill for the devastating flooding that hit last November will reach almost €250m -- a new record that dwarfs any previous payout, insurers revealed yesterday.
Household, commercial property and motor claims are expected to cost €244m to settle, with more than 8,500 claims already made.
The Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) said that repairing structural damage to homes and businesses, and replacing cars, vehicles and equipment damaged by the flooding would cost some €244m.
Large parts of the country, including counties Cork, Carlow, Galway, Clare, Offaly and Limerick, were devastated by flood waters last November after weeks of sustained and heavy rainfall.
Cork city was swamped after the ESB released millions of gallons of water from the Inniscarra Dam to prevent the dam from breaching.
It was the wettest November since records began at most stations, and many families are still out of their homes as a result of the damage caused.
The Limerick to Ennis train line remains closed.
At the time, the IIF warned that the cost of settling claims would have an effect on insurance premiums in 2010.
The bill could also rise as more claims are submitted.
The IIF said that household insurance claims would cost €77m, commercial property claims another €159m and motor claims €8m.
There have been 8,514 claims in total -- 4,629 household, 1,541 commercial property and 2,344 motor.
IIF spokesman Michael Horan said the cost of settling the flooding claims would be the most expensive settlement in recent times, but he could not yet give a figure on the cost of the clean-up from the big freeze.
"This flooding is the most severe weather event to affect the country in recent history," Mr Horan said.
"The response of insurers to the situation was swift and professional. Emergency helplines were immediately advertised by insurers in the media while companies re-assigned staff in order to speed up inspections of flood-damaged properties and to expedite the processing of claims," he added.
"The insurance industry protects millions of people in Ireland against financial loss. The November floods and the current freeze are a graphic illustration of how the industry operates to protect policyholders whose homes and businesses have been affected by the adverse weather in recent weeks," Mr Horan said.
The IIF said it was too early at this stage to estimate the cost of the current freeze -- this figure would not be available for at least three to four weeks.
The cost of settling all extreme weather-related events including storms, flooding and freezing between December 1997 and January 2009 was €498m.
The bill for three weeks of heavy rain in November will be almost half that total.
The previous biggest payout was after the flooding of August 2008 when €96m was paid out.
The next biggest was in December 1997 after severe storms when €84m was claimed, followed by €51m in November 2000 after flooding and €50m in November 2002, again from flooding.