UK winter floods to cost insurers $2 billion in pay-outs

A man jogs along a flooded footpath in Kew, south-west London, Britain February 13, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Flood damage in Britain from winter storms has resulted in claims for more than 15,000 homes and businesses and is likely to lead to pay-outs of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.9 billion), the Association of British Insurers estimates.

Three winter storms in northern Britain resulted in average household claims of 50,000 pounds, the ABI said on Wednesday, compared with 31,000 pounds during 2013/2014, and an average claim of 25,000 to 30,000 pounds.

The higher claims reflected extensive flood damage in some locations, the ABI said, adding that 85 percent of claims had been fully or partly paid out so far.

Flood Re, a government and industry scheme to cut insurance costs for homes in flood-risk areas, launched last month, but will only apply to policies taken out from April 2016.

The scheme applies to households, but not businesses, and is partly funded by a 180 million pound levy on the insurance industry. Insurers are expected to pass the levy onto household insurance policies across the country.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Alexander Smith