€150m: Cost of storm’s trail of destruction

Households around the country are counting the cost of one of the worst storms of recent years, with one estimate putting the value of potential claims at up to €150m.

Winds that reached up to 135km/h lashed the country from St Stephen’s Day through to yesterday morning, leaving thousands of homes without power and severely disrupting transport.

ESB crews were out yesterday to restore power to the 70,000 homes which experienced outages, and expected to restore power to 5,000 more last night.

In Killarney 2,500 homes were left without electricity, along with about 1,500 in Bandon, Co Cork. Nationally 1,400 faults needed repair.

Pearse St Dart Station in Dublin had to close yesterday because its roof was damaged by the high winds, while Cork University Hospital sustained damage. In Lucan in west Dublin part of a roof was blown off Coláiste Cois Life secondary school, while in Tralee part of the roof of the CBS primary school was also blown away.

Met Éireann had declared the winds to be of status red levels — the highest possible.

In Co Clare a taxi driver had a lucky escape when his vehicle ploughed into a tree that had fallen onto the road.

A spokesperson for the Irish Insurance Federation said it would be six to eight weeks before the full scale of the damage will be calculated, but insurers are bracing themselves for a deluge of claims.

Yesterday Conor Faughnan, director of consumer affairs at AA Ireland, said many people may only become fully aware of the damage to homes and businesses in the coming days — and said the high number of claims could have a knock-on effect on premiums.

“With a storm of this magnitude, damage of this magnitude, I would not be surprised to hear a figure of €150m. That would be the aggregate of lots and lots of lots of major and minor claims. “

He said years in which extreme weather events have occurred — such as the big freeze in both late 2010 and 2011 — are typically associated with high numbers of claims and rising costs of cover.

The weather caused severe travel disruption, with flights cancelled or rescheduled, ferry crossings scrapped on some routes, and trees and other obstacles, such as flooding, curtailing travel on secondary roads. Part of the Luas red line was also closed due to damage to nearby buildings.

* ESB has asked only customers who are able to report the location of damage to the electricity network to call on 1850 372 999 Customers are asked if possible to go to www.esbpowercheck.ie or download the PowerCheck app.


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