Rural insurer receives more than £80m worth of claims following storm

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Such was the scale of destruction caused by Storm Arwen last year that more than £80 million worth of claims have been received by one rural insurer.

The storm raged across Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North-East in November, with winds of over 70mph bringing chaos.

Winds of over 70mph were felt throughout the north of the United Kingdom and gusts of almost 100mph were recorded in Northumberland, bringing down trees, damaging buildings, and resulting in widespread travel disruption.

The dangerous winds were compounded by freezing temperatures, snow, and localised flooding, which caused further damage and danger and made travel treacherous or impossible.

In the months after the devastating storm, NFU Mutual, which insures three-quarters of the UK’s farms and thousands of rural homes and businesses, has been supporting around 8,000 customers who suffered loss at the hands of Storm Arwen.

Jon Bird, property claims manager at NFU Mutual, explained the impact of Storm Arwen on the insurer’s customers.

“The unique nature of Storm Arwen and its concentration in exposed, rural areas meant that the countryside suffered significant damage,” Jon said.

“As the UK’s leading rural insurer with a network of over 295 local agency offices in communities across the country, we saw that this was the worst weather event to hit last year.

“Our teams responded to hundreds of calls in the first few hours and have since supported around 8,000 customers with claims ranging from business losses, ruined farming equipment and damage to property caused by dangerous winds – including some cases where entire roofs were ripped from buildings.”

Jon continued: “Thankfully, advanced warning meant we were able to activate our emergency response, getting loss adjusters to customers with structural damage to their properties, alternative accommodation to those who needed it, and emergency payments wherever possible.

“Some repairs are still ongoing, and the total cost of the damage seen by NFU Mutual has exceeded £80 million, which goes to show the devastation such severe weather can cause.”

While NFU Mutual is progressing claims for over £80 million in damage, estimates from last year suggest that the total cost of Storm Arwen across all insurers could be as high as £300 million.

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