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Insurance refused for storm victims

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:37 01 August 2010

DAMAGE caused by a freak storm in the Wortwell area will not be covered by a number of insurance companies, it was revealed this week.

The storm, which tore through Wortwell, Mendham and Homersfield on the morning of August 12 and ended after a few minutes, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and shattered a summer house.

DAMAGE caused by a freak storm in the Wortwell area will not be covered by a number of insurance companies, it was revealed this week.

The storm, which tore through Wortwell, Mendham and Homersfield on the morning of August 12 and ended after a few minutes, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and shattered a summer house.

However residents have been left fuming after claiming their insurance companies denied the storm ever happened.

Terry Hart, of High Road, has had to pay £250 for the removal of a weeping willow of over 30-foot which was uprooted in his garden, despite being comprehensively insured. He has also been quoted a further £100 for the removal of the base of the tree and £120 to replace a parasol which was picked and thrown two gardens down.

He will also have to rebuild a stone barbecue, which was smashed by the tree, and repair roofing which has been ripped.

However his insurance company refuse to pay because they say they have no record of it occurring.

He said: “All they said was we'd had a lot of rain, no high winds. But that tree has been in there for more than 50 odd years and for that to be uprooted it was more than just normal winds.”

Meanwhile Veda Reynolds, of High Road, also had a tree felled in her garden and was told by her insurance company that they would not remove it. She said: “They told me that the winds had only got up to 35 miles an hour - how can 35 mile an hour winds uproot a tree? They wouldn't send anyone out because they said the storm wasn't reported.”

The FSA, the governing body who set out the guidelines for insurers, were unable to comment on the individual cases of each firm. However they said that the onus is more on the individual insurers to make a fair judgement of each case, and that an insurer must “not unreasonably reject a claim.”

Many eyewitnesses agree that the storm was the worst they had ever seen, with violent rain and swirling winds. Charles and Violet Burwood, who also live in High Road, had their summer house smashed to smithereens by a huge tree that fell into their garden from the Waveney Valley Fishing Lakes adjacent to their property.

And Neville Hadingham, who lives in High Road, said that it picked up a metal table in his garden and took tiles off his roof: “It was similar to the storm in '87, probably stronger than that, but it lasted for a shorter time. The sun was shining about 15 minutes later.”

Mr Cracknell, 68, of Homersfield, said: “It was the worst rain I've known and the wind wasn't what we normally experience at all. It was something that disturbed.”

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