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PwC says economic impact from December's UK storms could top US$4b

[LONDON] Consultancy PwC raised its estimate of the economic impact of the three storms that battered Britain in December to between 2-2.8 billion pounds (US$2.96-4.14 billion) on Monday, and warned losses could climb further, with scores of flood alerts still in place.

Raising its estimates for the third time in a week, PwC said Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, which have caused widespread flooding and damage to thousands of homes and businesses across northern parts of the British Isles, could incur combined insured losses of between 1-1.4 billion pounds (US$1.48-$2.07 billion).

"December was an awful time for the UK. The three storms - Desmond, Eva and Frank - plus the additional rainfall that has fallen between and after each of the storms has resulted in the worst damage in the UK since the 2007 storms," Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader at PwC said. "It may well be that as more rain falls we could even have more damage than the 2007 storms".

Floods and storms in 2007, which hit north-east, central and southern England and Wales, cost insurers a total of 3 billion pounds according to the Association of British Insurers.

Last Wednesday, PwC estimated insured losses from UK Storms Desmond and Eva of between 900 million pounds to 1.2 billion pounds, raising an earlier estimated range of 700 million-1 billion pounds.

The estimates published on Monday are the first to include the impact of Storm Frank.