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.
Train companies should lower fares to help people affected by the floods, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said.
"People's rail travel is getting affected. I want train companies to help them by reducing their fares," he said, Inspecting the devastating damage to rail tracks at Dawlish in Devon.
McLoughlin denied the Government had been slow to respond to the flooding but recognised that people "were angry", adding he was hopeful Network Rail would keep their promise of repairing the destruction at Dawlish, that has severely disrupted south-west England train services, in around six weeks.
In an emergency statement to the Commons, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said new government provisions will help protect more than 42,000 households in 2014/2015.
"We've already put in place investment plans to improve the protection of at least 465,000 houses by the end of the decade. Together with other projects under construction in 2014/15, we will protect more than 42,00 households," said Pickles.
"The measures the coalition has announced today provide a clear commitment to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The additional funding means this government will be investing more than £3.1 billion compared to £2.7bn in the previous 5 years under the last Labour government," he added.
This photo purports to show a bank customer in Cork last night, where people have been using canoes to get around the city centre.
Prince Charles appeared to criticise efforts to help flood victims in today saying: The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long."Read the full story ›