20 July, 2012
South West insurance firm Cornish Mutual has seen
unseasonably high levels of flood and other weather-related claims
following the downpours which have washed out the start of the
Claims in early July from flooding could top £250,000, with
Members' homes affected in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and
Somerset. In June this year the company experienced double
the number of claims than in 2011 for storm damage by wind, rain
Flooding claims have been received from areas as widespread as
Yeovil and Chard in Somerset, Dorchester in Dorset, North, South
and Mid Devon and the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. The level of
damage in individual homes has ranged from £2,000 to an estimated
Alan Goddard, Cornish Mutual's Managing Director, said: "Having
your home flooded is a very distressing thing to happen and as
always our focus has been to support our Members and to begin the
process of cleaning up and reinstatement as soon as possible.
Sadly, due to the nature of the damage and the time it takes to dry
out flooded properties, some of our Members face several months in
temporary accommodation and we are doing all we can to help
"What is clear is that while we've all suffered miserable
weather over the last month, the particularly severe incidents
leading to flooding and storm damage have been very localised and
often difficult to forecast. For that reason we always advise
everyone to consider very carefully the likely risks of flooding
and prepare as much as possible for what they might do in the event
that their property comes under threat from water."
Cornish Mutual has issued some basic guidelines to
Is my property at risk of flooding?
According to the latest statistics from the Environment Agency,
over 5.5 million properties in England and Wales are at risk of
flooding from rivers, the sea or surface water - which accounts for
one in six properties.
It's essential you know if you live in a high-risk property, so
you can make the appropriate preparations. The Environment Agency
has a flood map which will tell you if you're at risk of flooding
from rivers or the sea.
Will my insurance policy cover any damage caused by
When you take out your building and contents insurance, make
sure you find out what is covered and what isn't. Make sure you
know where all your insurance documents are kept and make a note of
the numbers you need to call if your property floods.
Keep a thorough record of any damage caused and keep any
evidence - take photographs and videos, mark the height of the
flood water on the walls in each room. Don't throw away anything
that has been damaged, apart from food - and make a list of that if
your policy covers perishable items.
To help your claim run smoothly, keep a record of all
communication between you and your insurance company - dates and
times of phone calls and the name of who you spoke to, copies of
letters, emails and faxes and receipts for anything you've had to
pay out for.
If there's anything you're unsure of, speak to your insurance
company and they should be able to advise you on what your policy
How can I minimise the damage and prepare
There are some simple steps you can take to minimise the damage
caused by flooding, such as keeping valuable items such as
televisions on high shelves or mounted to the wall whenever
possible and safe to do so.
You can find detailed advice on steps to reduce flood damage and
specialist products you can buy to prevent water from entering your
home on the Environment Agency's website
If you're worried about your property being at risk of flooding,
you can sign up to Floodline's warning system, which will alert you
by phone, mobile, email, SMS or fax if a warning is issued for
where you live. To sign up for the service, visit their website at
or call 0845 988 1188.
Truro-based Cornish Mutual has around 24,000 Members across
Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and is the only general
insurer based in the South West offering insurance to farms,
businesses and individuals.
Earlier this year Cornish Mutual became the first mutual
insurance company in the UK and the first South West business to
achieve the highest level of recognition from the Chartered
Insurance Institute (CII). It means Cornish Mutual joins just 15
other insurers which hold 'Chartered Insurer' status, including
industry giants such as AXA Commercial, Zurich Insurance Plc and
Allianz Insurance Plc.
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