In June 2019, a violent hailstorm unleashed itself on the southeast of France. Hailstones the size of ping pong balls and high-speed winds wrecked buildings and crops and put livestock at risk.
The hailstorm led to record numbers of claims. Reporting from the Drôme region where the storm hit worst, Alain Boyer, an agricultural inspector for over 30 years, said:
“This is without doubt the event with the largest number of agricultural claims I have ever had to deal with. It’s similar to the floods of the Rhône and Gard rivers in 2002 and 2003.”
Videos shared on social networks showed car windscreens cracking with the impact of the giant hailstones.
News reports described how hailstones pounded through trees, crushing fruit crops ready to be harvested.
Alain recalls how “the roof of one customer’s 200 square meter sheep barn was destroyed”. Farmers feared for the wellbeing of their farmland, animals, homes and livelihoods.
Close to our customers
We deployed our team to the Drôme region as quickly as possible, so they could see the damage first-hand and meet with customers.
Farms, roads and homes in and around the town of Romans-sur-Isère were heavily affected. Several roofs were completely destroyed.
We dispatched extra people, including hail experts, to support our team responsible for Romans-sur-Isère.
Due to the scale of the emergency, we put exceptional measures in place to speed up claims for customers and help protect their livelihoods.
claims made in total
A huge number to process quickly. But we adapted, we deployed more people, we made quick decisions. We helped our customers start to put their lives back together after the storm.
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Our customers don’t have to worry about the bumps in life’s road. They can count on us to help plan the journey and, if something goes wrong, we will be with them to put it right. In 2019 we paid our customers £33.2 billion (as at 31 December 2019) in claims and benefits.