Article

Emergency response underway for Storm Eunice

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PRESS RELEASE
18th February 2022  

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual’s emergency response underway for Storm Eunice as Isle of Wight records winds over 120mph

  • Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual believes this could be the worst storm to hit the countryside and coast for at least three decades
  • Exposed countryside and coastal areas are most at risk from high-speed winds, with Isle of Wight recording gusts of over 120mph
  • Insurer has mobilised its network of 550 agents across the UK and is ready to rapidly support customers impacted by the storm
  • NFU Mutual is already assisting customers as claims for significant damage to homes start to come in

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual urges people to make safety their top priority as it responds to what could be the worst storm to hit the country for up to three decades.

The Met Office has issued a red warning for the South West and South East of England, as well as Wales, indicating that Storm Eunice is expected to cause widespread damage and presents a danger to life. The storm has already brought down power lines, ripped trees from the ground, damaged buildings and caused widespread travel disruption, with a further risk of floods.

With over 100 years of experience insuring the countryside, NFU Mutual knows that exposed rural and coastal areas are most at risk from high-speed gusts, with little or no shelter from the full force of the wind. The insurer is already assisting its customers and is urging everyone in these areas not to underestimate the dangers posed by Storm Eunice.

Speaking at midday on Friday, NFU Mutual Agent John Heather, who has offices in the Isle of Wight, Bournemouth and the New Forest, said: “I’m on the Isle of Wight and we’re getting hit really hard at the moment.

“All the schools are shut, postmen are not working today on the island, we are receiving reports of trees coming down across the Island and roads are closed. The power is going out in some of the more rural locations.

“We’ve already had customers calling about damage caused by trees coming down. One has had a tree come through her roof, another has had a tree destroy her conservatory.

“We’re expecting to be inundated with calls and claims in the coming hours but we’re ready. Every member of the team across all our offices are taking calls.

“We’ve directed the phone lines to make sure everyone is picking them up as calls come through, and we’re also trying to make sure our vulnerable customers are dealt with as a priority.”

Speaking at 1pm on Friday, Mark Constable, Agent at NFU Mutual’s South Cotswolds Agency, said: “We think the wind is only now reaching its peak in the local area, so expect to see a real surge in calls in the coming hours.

“We’ve had reports of roof damage to both houses and cars, including falling debris landing on vehicles. The smoking shelter at a local pub has taken off and damaged nearby property. Some walls have also collapsed, including one onto a road. Several trees have fallen, again causing road blockages.

“Despite the volume of claims expected, we want to reassure customers that their NFU Mutual agency is well prepared and stands ready to support with the local personal service they expect from us. In the meantime, we would urge everyone to make safety their number one priority.”

NFU Mutual has activated its emergency plan and stands ready to support customers who suffer at the hands of Storm Eunice. Agents and call centres will be available to assist customers who need emergency support and are doing all they can to progress claims as quickly as possible. NFU Mutual can also make immediate emergency payments and settle simpler claims on the spot.

Protecting your property and loved ones during a storm

  • Stay alert for Met Office weather warnings for your area and follow local government advice.
    Prepare for power cuts: Have torches and batteries to hand and make sure any generators are ready to use if required.
    Do not leave the house or take car journeys unless absolutely necessary.
    Have your insurer’s emergency helpline available.
    Keep all doors and windows are closed.
    After the storm document and take pictures of any damage, as this could help your insurance claim. Report any damage to NFU Mutual as soon as possible.
    Do not enter any buildings which may be unsafe after a storm.
    -ENDS -

Notes to editor:

For interviews or further information, please contact: 
Andrew Chalk, Senior Press Officer 
Tel: +44 (0) 7890 307625
Email: Andrew_chalk@nfumutual.co.uk
ISDN line for radio interviews is: 01789 205347. 

About NFU Mutual:

NFU Mutual offers a wide range of products, including general insurance, life, pensions, and investments. These products and services are delivered through our network of NFU Mutual Agent offices, as well as through our direct sales and service centres. With 295 local businesses located in rural towns and villages throughout the UK, NFU Mutual has become part of the fabric of rural life and remains committed to serving the needs of our members nationwide.

NFU Mutual is proud to deliver more than simply insurance. Making farming safer, supporting rural initiatives across the UK and helping to look after the environment are just some of the ways we do that. To find out more about everything we do to support our communities, visit https://www.nfumutual.co.uk/about-us/responsible-business.