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Storm Christoph losses could total £120m, warns PwC

The storm, which hit the UK this week, has brought widespread flooding across England and Wales and led to many evacuations

PwC has predicted that insurance losses in the wake of Storm Christoph will be less than Storm Ciara, but could still reach a total of between £80m and £120m.

The storm, which hit the UK this week, has brought widespread flooding across England and Wales, and led to people being evacuated from a “large number” of homes in South Wales, according to the BBC

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About 2,000 homes in the Didsbury and Northenden areas of Manchester, Ruthin and Bangor-on-Dee, North Wales, and Maghull, Merseyside, were also affected in the last few days, according to reports.

Despite the damage, PwC’s insurance business does not believe the losses will be greater than Storm Ciara, which PwC previously predicted would lead to costs of £200m in insurance claims. 

Commenting on the predicted insurance losses, Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PwC UK, said: “It is still very early to say what the impact on the general insurance industry will be but based on the current weather, PwC estimates that the losses from Storm Christoph will be between £80m – £120m. 

“This is clearly dependent on what future rainfall occurs but currently would be less than the losses that occurred from Storm Ciara last year.”

He added: “Due to the existence of Flood Re, homeowners who have seen their properties flooded will not necessarily see an increase in the flood element of their premiums on renewal, following the recent storms and current weather. 

“Flood Re charges a fixed premium for the flood element of home insurance for properties built in 2009 and prior.”

The firm’s prediction comes only days after Zurich UK announced it is offering free counselling services to customers who are affected by flooding and the pandemic. 

The insurer said that with Storm Christoph “battering” the UK, there is a risk of a “double disaster” for communities affected by flooding alongside the ongoing pandemic. 

Under the initiative, existing policyholders who are forced to make a claim will be entitled to five counselling sessions with a qualified mental health expert. The benefit extends to their immediate families over the age of 18.  

David Nichols, Zurich UK’s chief claims officer, said: “The physical impact of extreme weather is impossible to ignore.  But there is reason to be concerned about another, ‘hidden’ consequence of the UK’s increasingly destructive weather – the harm it is doing to people’s mental health. 

“For some victims, the psychological toll of flooding is just as devastating as the disaster itself – with the effects lasting long after the waters recede. With five million people in England at risk of flooding, and climate change intensifying the frequency and severity of extreme weather, a mental health crisis is looming.” 

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