Insurers brace for record bill this year

Insurers have said they may have to pay out more natural disaster compensation than ever before as Austria has been hit by several devastating thunderstorms and floods.The federal Association of Austrian Insurance Agencies said today (Fri) damages to insured estates caused by freak weather conditions equals around 200 million Euros so far this year.The body said clients claimed damage worth around 10 million caused by last weekendÂ’s thunderstorms, hail and strong winds.Insurers compensated customers with 574 million Euros last year, of which 360 million Euros were handed over following the infamous hailstorm of 23 July.Agricultural experts meanwhile warned farmers will suffer dramatic harvest losses due to the extreme weather conditions.They said 25 per cent year on year decreases in 2010 were possible due to the ever-changing conditions featuring an extraordinary cold May and several heatwaves in June and so far this month as well as downpours, hail and thunder.