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Floods Insurance Payouts Top £1bn For 2012

(c) Sky News 2013

Insurance companies paid out over £1bn in flood and storm damage claims last year - the highest amount in five years - according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The claims cost a total of £1.19bn, the trade body said, which is the most since the £3bn paid in 2007 when heavy flooding affected large parts of the UK.

Around 486,000 homeowners, businesses and motorists filed insurance claims for flood and storm damage in 2012, equating to 1,330 each day.

The average payout for flood damaged properties was £18,200 and £1,300 for storm damage, the organisation said.

Met Office figures confirmed last year was the wettest year in England and Wales on record, and second wettest in the UK.

The ABI said insurers dealt with 411,000 claims for homes - paying out £690m to repair damage and replace ruined possessions.

They awarded £373m in business claims, and an extra £40m to help firms continue trading while their premises were being repaired.

Some 27,000 people claimed for damaged vehicles, and insurers paid out £84m to motor insurance customers.

Nick Starling, ABI's Director of General Insurance, said: "2012 may have been a record-breaking wet one, but it was business as usual for insurers, who helped thousands of customers recover from the trauma of flooding.

"Flooding is the greatest natural threat facing the UK and the risk is rising so political consensus and commitment on investment in flood defences, sensible planning decisions and working with the insurance industry is essential."

The figures comes as an agreement between the Government and insurers to ensure cover for high-risk homes is due to expire at the end of June.

The ABI said talks with the Government are ongoing about how affordable premiums in high-risk areas can continue.

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