Insurer reveals winter costs


South west firm Cornish Mutual has 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 12 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 West Country 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 £1.4k.

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.

MD Alan Goddard said: “Although these figures show the total number of weather-related claims for the last 12 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.”