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Insurance hike to follow cold snap

Farmers and householders are facing a rise in insurance premiums as a result of increased claims for damage caused to property during the recent cold snap and thaw.

FBD has confirmed that the surge in claims on house policies was running at similar levels to last year in terms of numbers.

FBD's Adrian Taheny said that the insurance industry had paid out €300m last year due to the cold snap in January and floods later in the year. He said these payouts would be reflected in higher premiums this year.

While he would not be drawn on the exact extent of the rise for households, he said they were likely to be from 5-9pc.

"Any increases on the property section of policies are most likely to be in single digit territory," Mr Taheny said.

"As property and contents on the vast majority of farm policies account for approximately 50pc of the total premium, then the impact on the overall premium will be low single-digit increase at worst," he added.

Citing figures from the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Mr Taheny pointed out that home insurance rates had increased by 44pc since January 2008. However, he said FBD's rates have risen by just 9pc in this period.

Mr Taheny denied that the jump in farm deaths to 25 last year had influenced the decision to increase premiums.

Describing the incidence of farm fatalities as "shocking", Mr Taheny said FBD had invested in excess of €250,000 over the past five years on safety programmes for family farms and continued to support the work of the Health and Safety Authority in promoting safety initiatives.

Declan O'Brien

Indo Farming