Industry responds to Storm Desmond flooding
The North West was hit by 340mm of rainfall in 24 hours, leaving hundreds of people homeless and around 42,000 homes without power.
Lloyds Bank Insurance put the cost of flood damage to homes at approximately £18,000 per incident.
Santander said it will review each mortgage case on an individual basis based on individual circumstances, which could mean payment holidays or converting repayment mortgages to interest only.
Facilities will be extended for six months on the same terms for small business, or 12 months for farmers.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, said: “The impact of this storm is devastating and our priority now is to support those affected. We are working with our customers and colleagues to find solutions that can help alleviate any financial stress caused by the recent flooding.
“I urge local charities in the impacted areas to apply to the Santander Foundation Community Plus fund so we can help communities get back on their feet as soon as possible.”
Co-operative Insurance said it will treat all flood and storm claims as a priority and provide additional staff to assist customers.
Co-op said it will contact customers proactively to help them with the claims process, while people unable to stay in their homes will be rehomed in temporary accommodation.
The bank is also automatically authorising customers to repair their properties.
Jonathan Guy, Co-op Insurance’s head of claims, who is on the ground in Cumbria, said: “This is devastating for our customers and we are mindful that we are so near to Christmas.
“We are treating these severe claims as a priority and have drafted in additional colleagues to deal with these and other storm claims from around the country as quickly as we can.
“We are also automatically authorising customers to take the necessary steps to repair their properties or to move to alternative accommodation if required.”
Association of British Insurers
The Association of British Insurers told customers affected by flood damage to contact their home insurer as soon as possible, adding that most have 24 hour emergency helplines.
If necessary the ABI advised people to arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop damage getting worse – but policy holders should keep receipts and use them as part of their claim.
People shouldn’t throw away damaged items unless they are a danger to health as they may have a chance to be repaired or restored.
The ABI warned people to stay away from homes or the office until it is safe. It added that it can take weeks, sometimes longer, for properties to fully dry out so it’s not worth rushing to redecorate.
Home buildings and contents policies cover flood and storm damage, but if a policy holder’s home is uninhabitable while repairs are being carried out many insurers will also arrange for and pay the cost of alternative temporary accommodation.
Commercial polices will cover damage to premises and the stock. Business interruption cover, which may be included or purchased separately, will cover additional trading costs such as hiring temporary alternative trading premises if necessary.
Malcolm Tarling, chief media relations officer at the ABI, said: “Insurers expect bad weather during the winter and will be geared up to help customers who have suffered flood and storm damage recover as quickly as possible.”
Lloyds Bank Insurance
Lloyds has deployed an emergency response unit to support affected people around Keswick and Carlisle, while the insurance arm is offering advice to homeowners affected by the storm.
Lloyds Bank Insurance will send personal claims consultants to meet affected customers face-to-face at its discretion. Consultants act as a single point of contact on major claims meetings and personally see each claim through from beginning to end.
Lloyds also reiterated the following guidance. If your home is at risk of flooding:
• Place sandbags outside doors, airbricks, windows and any other holes to reduce the amount of water entering your property
• Turn off the mains supplies of water, gas and electricity
• Unplug all electrical items, and store them upstairs or as high as possible
• Disconnect pipes to washing machine and dishwashers to avoid damage if appliances move during the flood
• Move as much furniture as possible upstairs, weigh down large items that can’t be lifted with sandbags so they don’t move and cause damage
• Empty contents of cupboards and drawers, and store upstairs or as high as possible
• Move rugs and curtains upstairs or to higher ground
• Keep your home insurer’s policy details and telephone numbers to hand in case you need to make a claim
• Remember to move sentimental items such as photograph albums to a safe place, as they cannot be replaced.
If your home has been flooded:
• Ensure mains supplies of water, electricity and gas have been checked for damage by a qualified engineer before reconnecting
• Dry out appliances that have been affected by water and ensure a qualified electrician or Gas Safe registered engineer inspects them before use
• Open doors and windows to ventilate and dry out the property. Ensure the home has completely dried before attempting redecorating work
• Contact your insurer and report any damage caused to buildings and/or contents as soon as possible
• Take photographs of damaged items as it may help your insurer to settle a claim
• Keep any ruined property as insurers may want to inspect it.
In an emergency:
• Keep a home emergency kit prepared in case of a winter emergency such as a flood or severe storm. This could include sandbags, torches, spare bulbs and batteries, your home insurance documents, other emergency contact details, tinned food, warm clothing and blankets
• Listen to the radio for regular updates on the weather or other emergency situations.
Tim Downes, senior claims manager at Lloyds Bank Insurance, said: “Our emergency response team has been on the ground in the community over the weekend and is working to help all customers whose homes are affected get things back on track as quickly as possible.
“Flooding can have a devastating effect on people’s lives in an instant, so it is important to make ourselves as accessible as possible so we can help to put things right.”
The government has opened the Bellwin scheme, meaning councils in the affected areas can spend money on a cleanup operation and have their costs reimbursed above a threshold.
At the same time the government has committed to building 1,400 flood defences and protecting 300,000 homes from flooding across the UK.
Greg Clark, communities secretary, said: “The effects of Storm Desmond will be devastating to communities and families whose homes have been flooded – with many suffering this for the second, or even third, time in the last decade.
“We’re determined to stand squarely behind affected communities for the long haul, to help them get back on their feet and into their homes as quickly as possible.
“That’s why today we’re taking the first step on the road to recovery by offering support through the Bellwin scheme so councils starting the clean-up operation can be confident that they will get the support they need.”