Insurance firm boss Mark Pickup of Lion Insurance Consultants tackles 10-fold increase in flood claims
A Kent insurance company is battling through calls following the floods as claims have shot up 10-fold.
Lion Insurance Consultants in West Farleigh usually deals with two or three calls a week, but the impact of the strong gales and heavy rain left them with nearly 20 calls in Christmas week alone.
Company director Mark Pickup has been forced to work outside normal hours to deal with the demand.
An over-flowing drain in Hampstead Lane, Yalding
He said: “Initially we got our first phone call at about 1am on December 23; Christmas Day I received a few calls at home then Boxing Day we got a few more. Since then we’ve had a barrage of calls from various people.
"The calls were extreme. It was not necessarily the fact it was over a period of a week, it was about the fact it was over a period of 48 hours.
"It was the impact from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day and it was that three-day period that caused the influx in calls."
The company, in Smiths Hill, has since dealt with cases including roofs being ripped off from properties and goods being washed away.
Kent's coast is battered in the high winds
Mr Pickup said: “We were all personally impacted from it because we’ve got a relationship with Yalding.
"We’ve got friends and family that were left isolated in the village. It was just horrendous.
"We didn’t have much of a Christmas because we were worried about the people that were there.”
He added: “It’s unbelievable. You just do not appreciate until you’ve actually been there the impact it’s had on people’s properties.
"The smell, the fact they had no electricity, the silt from the water is just disgusting, it’s not something you can easily wash away.
Rescue in Yalding during the recent flooding. Picture: Medway Coastguard
"It’s awful, and so many of the people now have got houses that they won’t be able to live in for several months until the drying process takes place.”
Mr Pickup said it’s vital insurance companies across Kent appreciate the situation their clients are facing, rather than focusing entirely on the claim.
“Every single claim is tragic in its own way. You can’t say one person has been affected more than another. At the end of the day it’s a tragic scenario for everybody” - Mark Pickup
He said: “They’re going to need time to rebuild their lives and get back from all of this and this is a process that a lot of the insurers won’t appreciate.
"At the end of the day they will go in there and the physical items will be replaced.
"The fear factor for many of these families is they’re going to be sitting there waiting for the next time to happen.”
He added: “Every single claim is tragic in its own way. You can’t say one person has been affected more than another. At the end of the day it’s a tragic scenario for everybody.”
The company boss is now calling for a specific insurance scheme to be introduced urgently to ensure flooding victims have some fallback in future situations.
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