UPDATE 1-British insurers braced for $1.8 bln in weather claims

Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:10am EDT

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LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - A series of violent storms and widespread flooding in Britain since the start of the year is likely to cost insurers more than 1 billion pounds, the industry's trade body said on Thursday.

The industry will have to pay out about 1.1 billion pounds ($1.83 billion) for the period between Dec. 23 and Feb. 28, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said, with the cost from flooding alone set to reach 446 million pounds.

However, the ABI noted that the damage and cost to the industry is well short of the 3 billion pound hit from widespread floods in 2007.

Consultants at Deloitte last month estimated that weather-related insured losses were "heading towards 1.5 billion pounds".

The floods, which left some areas of England under water for more than a month, prompted the British government in February to summon insurers to brief ministers on their progress in dealing with the crisis.

Between Dec. 23 and the end of February, insurers received 421,000 storm claims and 17,500 flood-related claims.

Insurers have already made 27 million pounds in emergency payments and spent 24 million pounds on temporary accommodation for customers flooded out of their homes, the ABI added.

Many of Britain's largest insurers have disclosed estimated losses from the floods in recent weeks.

RSA said it expects to take a 45-60 million pound hit from flood-related claims in the UK, while Direct Line forecast a 70-90 million pounds cost from claims between the start of the year and Feb. 22.

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