Insurance firms braced claims on weather

INSURANCE companies are today bracing themselves for a deluge of calls from Suffolk residents who have fallen victim to the severe weather which battered the county.

INSURANCE companies are today bracing themselves for a deluge of calls from Suffolk residents who have fallen victim to the severe weather which battered the county.

Thousands of pounds of damage was caused by the high winds which swept across the county last week, with scores of trees being uprooted, telegraph poles toppled and roof tiles blown off.

Yesterday morning engineers were still working to restore power to around 1,500 homes in Suffolk left without electricity, although by the end of the day that number was said to be down to 400.

Insurance firms in Ipswich today said they expected a flurry of claims over the next week.

Nick Kidd, from Axa, said while it was not yet possible to estimate what the cost of the gales would be, past experience suggested there would be substantial claims.

He said there had been about three times the usual number of claims so far, and staff from other departments had been moved to help on telephone lines at the Ipswich call centre.

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Mr Kidd said: “Many claims will come in over the next few weeks as people return home from holidays or other trips to find damage.

“Some people have had difficulty in contacting the call centre because of the number of people trying to get through and we apologise for any delays.

“People with damage that does not need to be repaired urgently can wait before they lodge their claim, but those with major problems should keep on trying until they get through.

“We should have more of an idea bout the cost of the damage by the middle of this week - it is not possible to really estimate things until then.”

A spokesman for Britannia Building Society said: “We haven't been bombarded by calls at the moment, but we expect that there will be several in the next few days.

“However, it is too early to say how many people have been affected in Suffolk and what the overall cost of the damage caused will run to.”

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