Insurance claims rise due to last year's weather conditions

Weather-related claims cost RSA an extra £225m.

Insurance companies have suffered millions of pounds in losses after a surge in claims following the Big Freeze at the end of last year.

The extreme cold last winter and unexpected hurricane season cost insurance group RSA £225m more than average on weather-related claims.

Other companies, such as easyJet, Enterprise Inns and Associated British Foods have also reported multimillion pound losses due to the snow.

RSA said its UK call centres dealt with 82,000 phone calls - 90% more than usual - during the coldest December in 100 years. 

The company faces a bill of over £53m simply to cover damage caused by burst domestic water pipes, with 8,000 customers filing claims at an average cost of £6,700.

Its commercial property division and motor-related claims also took a hit with a 70% increase in single vehicle accident claims in the month leading up to Christmas eve.

Chief executive Andy Haste said 2010 had been an "extremely tough year" for the insurance industry, with the adverse weather in November and December coming on top of February's Chilean earthquake.