Short, sharp downpours could become an increasingly unwanted characteristic of the British summer if the effects of global warming are to continue, experts have warned.
A landmark study by the Met Office and Newcastle University has identified how climate change could result in heavier summer rainfall, which in turn could increase the risk of flash flooding.
The worst flooding since records began has killed at least 20 people dead in Serbia and Bosnia and has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.
The flooding is the worst since records began 120 years ago, according to meteorologists, who said it is due to the region getting three months of rain in just three days.
It is "far too early to say" if and by how much insurance premiums will go up after thousands homes and businesses were damaged by the south coast floods, according to the Association of British Insurers.
Malcolm Tarling told Daybreak that insurers would "do the maths" after flood victims had been allowed to safely move back into their homes.
The flood waters may have mostly receded, but for many the distress of being flooded remains raw.
Insurers and loss adjusters are playing a crucial role in the recovery process. A badly flooded property can take months to become habitable again, so insurers continue working around the clock to ensure that the drying out process is completed as quickly and as safely as possible.
While of course this was a serious and significant bad weather event the current flood damage costs remain well below the severe floods of 2007 when insurers paid out £3 billion to customers.
The Association of British Insurers estimates it will be paying out £1.1 billion to customers affected by floods and storms in the wettest winter on record.
£446 million of that figure will be paid out for flood damage alone. Here is how it breaks down:
- £276 million in payouts
- 9,000 flood-hit home owners
- £149 million in payouts
- 3,100 claims were received from this sector
- £22 million will be paid to flood-hit vehicle owners
- 5,400 claims for flooded vehicles
An estimated £1.1 billion will be paid in insurance claims to people whose homes, businesses and vehicles were damaged in floods and storms this winter, according to figures released today by the British insurance industry.
The outlook for jobs has been given an unexpected boost by the floods as extra staff are taken on to deal with damage caused by the atrocious weather, according to a new report.
Employment firm Manpower said demand for builders and other tradesmen and women had increased, boosting the industry by an estimated £250 million.
Energy firms have also had to recruit more engineers in the past few weeks to help restore power to thousands of homes, as well as more customer service workers to handle compensation claims.
Insurers have warned that the Government's Flood Re scheme will not cover expensive properties in council tax band H - even though residents will have to pay the levy.
Thousands of under-threat homes in the Thames Valley and Somerset Levels are thought to be affected by the loophole.
Stephen Lark, director at Lark Insurance, said: "The threat to property in the Thames Valley only further underscores a very serious flaw in the Government's flood insurance scheme.
"Thousands of properties will be included in the cost of Flood Re while being banned from the scheme's protection. The Government needs to listen to homeowners and the insurance industry and fix these unworkable proposals."
NFU Mutual which provides insurance for 70% of the farming industry, rural homes and businesses has told ITV News it has received over 8,000 claims after recent floods.
They estimate the cost of these claims will be £60m.
The accountancy firm Deloitte has told ITV News that if the accumulation of extreme weather claims extends further into February, the insurance industry could be facing a bill of £500m for the exceptional autumn and winter weather claims.
This would matching the cost of the big freeze of 2010.