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Big freeze costs insurers £650m

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The big freeze forced insurers to pay out as much as £650 million in 335,000 weather-related claims made between December 18 and January 13, a study has revealed.

According to research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the majority of claims (268,400) came from motorists who damaged their vehicles while on slippery roads. These claims cost insurers a total of £395 million.

Meanwhile, homes and businesses were also damaged as a result of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.

The survey showed there were some 66,600 claims from homeowners and business owners for damage to property - leading to a payout of £255 million together.

Of this, around £194 million was paid to homeowners alone - particularly to cover roof damage. This group submitted a total of 60,200 claims.

The UK suffered the coldest winter for 30 years, while January was the eighth coldest on record.

Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance and health, said: "Insurers will always respond quickly to the large number of claims that often result from bad weather.

"Insurers have paid out nearly £1 billion to customers following bad weather this winter, as the heavy snow came weeks after the flooding in Cumbria, which led to insurers paying out £200 million in flood claims."

© Press Association 2010