Belfast Telegraph

Big freeze cost insurers 224m euro

Insurers have paid out 224 million euro to homeowners and businesses hit by last December's big freeze.

Most damage was done by burst pipes, with firms facing a total of 30,000 claims and Cork, Dublin and Galway the worst affected areas.

The Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) said it was the third major weather event to hit Ireland and cause an influx of claims in a 14 month period.

Mike Kemp, IIF chief executive, said: "Severe weather events such as these have been very rare events in the past in Ireland.

"To have had the three largest weather-related losses in our history in such close succession has put pressure on the market, but insurers have repeatedly displayed their resilience and as a result have injected three-quarters of a billion euro back into the Irish economy in a 14-month period.

"To put the extent of this payout in context, the cost for severe weather events for the past 10 years before the November 2009 floods amounted to 358 million euro, or less than half the cost of the three most recent events."

The IIF said household claims cost 173.1 million euro and commercial claims 50.6 million euro. Cork was the most expensive place for insurers, costing 32.4 million euro, followed by Galway at 24.7 million and Dublin at 20.2 million euro.

The federation also said some regions were disproportionately affected by the bad weather. Munster accounts for 28% of the population but made up about 40% of the claims cost, while Leinster is home to 54% of the population but only accounted for 32% of the claims cost.

The pre-Christmas chill was about 70 million euro less costly than similar weather in January 2010 when claims totalled 297 million euro, the IIF said.

Floods which left huge swathes of land under water in the west and south in November 2009 were also more expensive, costing insurers 244 million euro.

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