Ophelia: ‘Too soon to assess cost of damage’

Irish insurers have paid out €1.3bn to policyholders as a direct result of storms and flooding over the past 10 years, the industry’s representative body has said.

However, Insurance Ireland, which represents almost 130 companies providing insurance domestically in Ireland, says it is still too soon to accurately assess the cost of the damage caused by ex-Hurricane Ophelia, which battered the country on Monday.

Businesses, homeowners, and motorists are still in the process of counting the costs of the storm’s impact, and as yet the total cost is unknown, Insurance Ireland says.

“Insurers in Ireland have paid out over €1.3bn to help policyholders recover from severe weather events such as storms and flooding over the last 10 years. Insurers will be assessing the damage caused by Ophelia in the coming weeks and months and will be providing assistance to their customers to help them recover from the damage. It is not possible to provide an estimate of the insured losses from the event at this very early stage,” a spokesperson said.

Those who have suffered damage are advised to liaise with their insurers throughout the process of repair and remediation.

“We would advise people to talk to their insurer about what needs to be done and they will provide guidance. It is best to stay in contact with your insurer throughout,” Insurance Ireland said.

Householders have been advised to check the full extent of their policies, and contact their insurer or broker for further information. They should also document any impacts on their property and keep receipts to claim back the costs of temporary repairs.

The Irish Claims Consultants Association, the representative body for public loss assessors, said policyholders should take photographs of damage; make an inventory of what needs to be repaired; and, advised that any wet or damaged contents can be removed, but recommended not disposing of these items off-site.

Dublin MEP Brian Hayes said the Government should apply for EU financial support to assist with the costs of the damage: “Yesterday’s storm has caused significant damage across the country. While the full value of the damage will not be known for weeks, the Government should immediately notify the European Commission of their intent to apply for EU financial support.”

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