Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 17:57 UK

Flood victims 'still traumatised'

Flooding in Hull
More than 10,000 properties in Hull were damaged by last June's floods

Victims of flooding in 2007 are still suffering stress and anxiety because of rows with insurance companies and rogue builders, research has shown.

The results of a survey of 250 people in Hull and East Yorkshire showed many felt "fobbed off" by insurers and ripped off by traders.

The National Flood Forum, which conducted the research, said lessons had to be learned from the events.

The Association of British Insurers said they had paid out 3bn in claims.

The survey was carried out by people who approached the forum for help and highlighted their troubles when claims became fraught.

'Worse state'

In a statement the forum said that for many people, problems resulting from poor building work and performance had left them "feeling traumatised and devastated".

"Many people stated that their home was left in a worse state following flood repair works," the forum said.

The report said flood victims' issues with loss adjusters also highlighted areas of concern, as insurance companies struggled to cope with unprecedented demand.

The statement continued: "...constantly being 'fobbed off' and a failure to return phone calls, uncaring attitudes and lost documents continue to add to the stresses already endured by flood victims".

'Reacted quickly'

The Association of British Insurers said: "The insurance industry reacted quickly to the devastating floods of summer 2007.

"They handled four years of bad weather claims in two months - over 180,000 claims, paying out 3 billion.

"Insurers are acutely aware how traumatic flooding can be. So they drafted in additional claims staff, and loss adjusters to quickly inspect flood properties and get the drying out and repair process started as soon as possible."

It added that insurers had worked "round the clock" to get people back in their homes and that only a "small number" were still in temporary accommodation.

The association also said it was not aware of "significant problems" in handling claims.

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