January 4, 2016 / 11:52 AM / 2 years ago

PwC says economic impact from December's UK storms could top $4 billion

LONDON (Reuters) - Consultancy PwC raised its estimate of the economic impact of the three storms that battered Britain in December to between 2-2.8 billion pounds on Monday, and warned losses could climb further, with scores of flood alerts still in place.

Raising its estimates for the third time in a week, PwC said Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, which have caused widespread flooding and damage to thousands of homes and businesses across northern parts of the British Isles, could incur combined insured losses of between 1-1.4 billion pounds.

“December was an awful time for the UK. The three storms - Desmond, Eva and Frank - plus the additional rainfall that has fallen between and after each of the storms has resulted in the worst damage in the UK since the 2007 storms,” Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PwC said.

“It may well be that as more rain falls we could even have more damage than the 2007 storms”.

Council workers rebuild a wall with sandbags following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. Torrential rain and gale force winds have battered northern Britain cutting power to thousands of homes and forcing some to evacuate flooded streets in the third major storm in a month. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Floods and storms in 2007, which hit north-east, central and southern England and Wales, cost insurers a total of 3 billion pounds according to the Association of British Insurers.

Last Wednesday, PwC estimated insured losses from UK Storms Desmond and Eva of between 900 million pounds to 1.2 billion pounds, raising an earlier estimated range of 700 million-1 billion pounds.

The estimates published on Monday are the first to include the impact of Storm Frank.

(This refiled version of the story recasts headline to clarify estimate refers to economic impact, not insurer payouts)

Reporting By Sinead Cruise; Editing by Rachel Armstrong

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