U.K. Floods to Cost Insurers as Much as $800 Million, PwC Says

Flooding in the U.K. over the past week will cost insurers as much as 500 million pounds ($800 million), making this year the most expensive for water damage since 2007, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC.

Heavy rains have swept through England and Wales in the past week, causing about 940 homes to flood in the southwest and northeast of England and Wales since Nov. 21, according to the U.K.’s Environment Agency. The 500 million-pound bill for insurers includes some flooding in September, PwC said.

“This is very much a high-level estimate while events are still unfolding,” Domenico Del Re, head of catastrophe management at PwC, said in a telephone interview.

The damage caused by the recent weather brings the overall flood insurance bill for 2012 to 1 billion pounds, the most since 2007, when the British army was drafted in to help rescue people from high water amid record summer showers. This year’s recent rain follows the wettest April to June period since records began.

The Environment Agency currently has 198 flood warnings in place and expects river and groundwater levels to peak in the next 48 hours as the rain subsides.

The U.K.’s biggest property and casualty insurers, including Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLG) and Aviva Plc (AV/), are lobbying the government to maintain or increase spending on flood defenses in return for a commitment from the insurance industry to insure the worst affected areas. The current agreement, called the Statement of Principles, ends next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Crowley in London at kcrowley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net;

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