Payout under State assistance scheme to 40 people in Donegal

Insurance Ireland says it is too early to estimate overall cost of Tuesday’s flooding

 An overturned tractor after a road collapsed in Iskaheen, Co Donegal. Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA Wire

An overturned tractor after a road collapsed in Iskaheen, Co Donegal. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Around 40 people have so far received payouts under the Government’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme following this week’s flooding in Donegal.

The scheme, which was opened on Thursday, offers financial support for food, clothing, household items and property repairs for those affected by storms which ravaged the northwest on Tuesday and caused damage to houses, cars, roads and bridges.

Initial payments under the Department of Social Protection-run scheme will cover everyday items such as food and clothing, with financial support for refurbishing damaged property expected to be rolled-out as the clean-up progresses.

Applicants to the €10 million scheme are means-tested, with 100 per cent reimbursements for damaged items available for households with income of less than €70,000, and scaled-back assistance available for higher-earning households.

Items covered by insurance are not eligible for reimbursement.

Latest estimates indicate that up to 500 houses suffered major water damage due to the flooding in Donegal, along with hundreds of cars.

B&Bs and hotels

Donegal County Council has been providing emergency assistance, with those worst affected put up in B&Bs and hotels around the county. A spokeswoman for the council said it was likely that some families would not be able to return to their homes for a considerable period.

Insurance Ireland, which represents underwriters, says it is still too early to estimate the overall cost of Tuesday’s flooding, and valuers attached to insurance companies are currently inspecting flooded properties to assess the damage.

Asked if the flooding will lead to premium hikes or loss of future coverage for affected households, a spokesman for Insurance Ireland said on Friday that such decisions were taken by member companies on a case-by-case basis.

“As with all classes of insurance, claims history and other factors are taken into account by insurers when assessing the nature of the risk and the likelihood of a reoccurrence.”

Claims

The group’s non-life insurance manager, Michael Horan, said claims were already filtering into underwriters, and this is expected to continue over the coming weeks.

“I think it’s too early to estimate the cost at the moment. Claims are coming in; they’ll come in over the next number of days. Insurance companies as a general principle allow for the fact that they can expect some bad weather. We’ll know as time goes on and the claims come in what the cost of them are.”

“Insurers look at the claims history of the property, they look at previous history of flooding, they look at any flood-prevention steps taken by the Office of Public Works or local authority, and then they make their own individual decisions on what to do in terms of underwriting.”