South West firm Cornish Mutual has today revealed for the first time the full cost of insurance claims in relation to the region’s coldest winter on record for years.
More than a quarter of a million pounds (£303,286) was paid out by the insurer for severe winter weather damage caused by cars skidding on ice and snow, storms, flooding, burst pipes and lightning strikes over the last twelve months. A number of claims were also paid to farmers in the South West who had to get rid of milk, because tankers couldn’t collect from some farms.
The annual claims figures have been released as forecasters predict the third winter in a row of colder than average temperatures, with the Westcountry facing a risk of heavy snowfall and severe frosts between now and next spring.
Between 1 November 2009 and 28 October 2010 the company, which has Members in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, dealt with over 200 specific weather-related insurance claims with the average claim totalling over £1,400.
Storms were the most common cause of damage with an average individual claim of £1,321. The most expensive claims centred on burst pipes with the average single cost to the company estimated to be £2,836.
|Number of claims||Total paid out|
|Cars skidding on snow and ice||6||£9,072|
|Damage to homes by snow||3||£2,561|
Alan Goddard, Managing Director of Cornish Mutual, which has offices in Exeter and Truro, said: “Although these figures show the total number of weather-related claims for the last twelve months, undoubtedly we experienced one of the busiest winters on record as an insurance company. If last winter was anything to go by, we’re certainly bracing ourselves for another surge in calls from our Members over the next few months.
He added: “The average price of an annual home and contents insurance policy is around £237 and perhaps what’s most striking about these figures is that without insurance cover in place, people could face eye-watering bills for repairs that run into tens of thousands of pounds. Burst pipes cause the most expensive damage and this is something that most people can avoid by taking some simple, precautionary measures such as lagging pipes in lofts.”
The harsh winter and hazardous road conditions also caused major problems for milk tankers accessing farms in the South West and led to dozens of farmers having to dispose of milk when their tanks became full. Cornish Mutual predicts that serious weather may once again hamper collection efforts.
Alan Goddard said they had to pay a number of claims in the region and there was a particular issue where tanker drivers were not prepared to attempt to come onto the farm, “In some cases drivers, themselves, are liable for part of the damage to their vehicles so they want to avoid that risk.”
He’s now urging the region’s farmers to ask for uncollected milk cover either at the inception or renewal of their policy, “Uncollected milk cover will often be part of the general insurance policy which we will discuss with Members when they’re renewing their policy. Our advice is act early to avoid uncollected milk – farmers cannot expect to get cover the day before they think they might need it.”
Source : Cornish Mutual Press Release