Storm Henk causes around 150 million pounds in UK insured losses

By Carolyn Cohn and Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) -Storm Henk, which battered Britain last week, caused around 150 million pounds ($190 million) in insured losses and damaged around 2,000 properties, consultants PwC said on Wednesday.

Heavy rain caused major rivers to burst their banks and the government issued more than 300 flood warnings, only weeks after Storm Babet also caused flooding in October.

Mohammad Khan, head of general insurance at PwC UK, said the insured losses from the two storms “will be just within many insurers’ expected total weather losses, although for a few it may push them above what they expected”.

He added more rain and possibly more flooding was expected.

Climate change has been linked to more frequent and damaging weather events, raising the risk of insurance claims and also of property being very difficult or expensive to insure.

John Neal, chief executive of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, said Britain had an estimated 6 million homes uninsured for flood and that consumer perceptions of the risk were “not strong enough”.

“So, if we end up with huge flooding problems carrying on for three or four weeks, it could become… a government-related problem, you know, with the lack of insurance,” he told Reuters.

More broadly, Neal said the average premium being paid for home insurance, under which a flooding claim would normally occur, was currently around 200 pounds, which was “not enough” considering the growing risks.

($1 = 0.7855 pounds)

(Editing by Alison Williams and Barbara Lewis)