UK Small Businesses Assess Flood Damage Costs

Small firms across the UK have lost more than £830m as a result of this winter’s floods, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB said a third of small firms in flood-hit areas suffered from reduced demand for goods and services, while transport disruption affected supplies and led to staff absences in many businesses. It estimated the average cost to each business in flood-hit areas at £1,531.

Assessments of the insured losses from the wettest winter recorded in England and Wales since 1766 have varied widely. Analysts at Credit Suisse predicted the final bill could reach £1.2bn, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill) put the figure at £1.5bn.

Earlier this week credit rating agency (CRA) Fitch said it expected the floods to have only a limited impact on UK insurers. One of the biggest groups in the sector, Legal & General, expects to pay out only an additional £12m for flood claims in the first two months of this year.

John Allan, chairman of the FSB, said UK government support has been welcome and support should be kept under review. He added: “We also know small businesses are worried they will find it increasingly difficult and expensive to insure their businesses.

“We want the government and the insurance industry to look again at the support they have in place for small businesses in flood-hit areas and see whether there is more help they can provide to ensure they have access to adequate and affordable insurance.”

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