R&SA warns of higher premiums from extreme weather

13 June 2006
Insurance group Royal and Sun Alliance (R&SA) has confirmed fears that insurance premiums could rise as a result of more extreme weather conditions in the UK.

Recently, each year has seen near-record levels of flooding and cold weather in the winter and heat waves during the summer months as analysts begin counting the climatic cost of global warming.

Such persistent and extreme weather conditions could lead to proportionally more insurance claims every year.

Development manager for property underwriting at R&SA, Alan Gairns, said: "If we do find ourselves in a situation where we are getting more events of subsidence or flooding, that puts pressure on our bottom line and it would be reflected in our prices.

"There is obviously the potential for premiums to go up because insurers are faced with high losses and there is not a mechanism to prevent that," he continued. "We can't control the weather."

Mr Gairns could not be anymore specific over which premiums have the highest potential for increases, simply stating that "the science is not specific enough on this point".

R&SA dismissed the need for government intervention at this stage, although the company did not rule out the possibility at some point in the future if insurers felt there was a need for action.

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