Rural insurer NFU Mutual is dealing with over 1500 claims from customers hit by the floods in the south-west Midlands.
“We’re already dealing with over 1500 claims and we expect many more to come in over the next few days as the flood waters recede,” said chief claims manager, John Kenny.
“The extent of the flooding in the Midlands is unprecedented and, although it’s too early to put an accurate figure on the cost of claims, it’s clear that we are looking at a total bill running into tens of millions of pounds for NFU Mutual alone.
“That’s on top of over 2000 claims resulting from the earlier floods in the north of England.”
When the floods hit on Friday, 20 July NFU Mutual put its emergency disaster plan into action. A flood claims team was put in place to co-ordinate the response, and teams of claims staff and flood damage restoration companies put on stand-by, ready to go in to damaged properties when the waters receded.
“We’ve been able to see some of the worst-affected people very quickly and where necessary provide cash to help them with immediate needs such as emergency accommodation,” said Mr Kenny.
“Rural businesses, such as hotels, shops, offices and workshops have also suffered extensive damage.”
Claims received so far include many hundreds of seriously flooded farmhouses, which could cost between £20,000 and £50,000 to put right.
Vehicles have also been hard hit, with hundreds of claims for flooded cars, tractors and harvesting vehicles reported. Modern vehicles with extensive electronic systems are often ‘written off’ if water has covered the dashboard.
Commercial claims ranging from flood damage to farm buildings, stored crops and farm equipment, together with livestock losses in large pig and poultry units are being dealt with.
NFU Mutual is also dealing with claims for loss of milk from farms where tankers were not able to make normal collections. This type of insurance normally comes into play when snow and ice make roads impassable, rather than flooding.
Mr Kenny made a plea to farmers to make safe working their first priority as they struggle with the most difficult harvesting conditions for many years.
“Accidents and injuries tend to increase when workers and machines are under the strain of a difficult harvest. It’s vital that workers don’t get too tired to work safely, and that cleaning and maintenance schedules for combines are adhered to.”