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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 18 January, 2018
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Insurance industry: Too early to estimate cost of damage caused by storms

Meanwhile, the government has been urged to seek funding from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to assist with storm damage caused by the extreme weather.

Waves battering the seafront at Lahinch last week
Waves battering the seafront at Lahinch last week
Image: George Karbus via Facebook

INSURANCE IRELAND, THE representative body for the country’s insurance industry, says it is too early to estimate the overall cost of repairing the damage caused by storms and flooding in recent days.

Homes and businesses particularly in the west of the country have been badly hit by the stormy weather in recent days which has caused flooding in parts of Galway, Clare and other areas along the Atlantic coast.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Insurance Ireland spokesperson Michael Horan said that it is too early to estimate the cost of the damage, predicting a figure would be available in about three weeks as the claims start to come in.

“There’s usually a time-lag between an event happening and people filing their claims,” he said, adding that people affected should contact their insurance company or broker as quickly as possible.

He said insurance companies have experience of this from damage caused by others storms in recent years, saying “they’ll take you through, they’ll hold your hand”.

He could not say if an increase in claims in the coming weeks will result in a rise in premiums as there is not yet an overall estimate of the cost.

Government called on to do more

Meanwhile, the government has been urged to seek funding from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to assist with storm damage caused by the extreme weather.

Fianna Fáil MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher pointed out that the Irish government secured €13 million from the fund following flooding in November 2009.

“I believe that this is an avenue worth pursuing due to the financial constraints facing many local authorities at the present time and in light of the successful application submitted in 2009,” he said.

The government has also come under pressure from its own benches with Fianna Fáil senator Martin Conway, who is based in storm-affected Clare, saying that ministers need an action plan to deal with the aftermath.

“The incredible work of our emergency services has also been obvious since the beginning of this crisis and I know that the people who have been affected are extremely grateful for what they are doing to help them,” Conway said.

“I am now calling on the Government to show the same level of urgency and solidarity in helping our coastal communities get back on their feet.”

The government is expected to examine the possibility of releasing emergency capital funding for repairs, but this would only be available for public facilities and not individual homeowners.

Read: US prepares for ‘polar vortex’ which could plunge temperatures to -51 degrees Celsius

Read: Met Éireann warns of possible spot flooding as weather warning remains in place

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