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Beast from the East eats up Direct Line's entire yearly budget for weather claims

The cold snap that brought freezing temperatures to Europe earlier this year has eaten up almost all of insurer Direct Line's yearly budget for weather claims. 
The so-called Beast from the East, which dumped thick snow across Britain in late February and early March, has landed Direct Line with around ?50m in weather claims - just below its ?55m target for the whole of 2018.
"The freezing weather earlier this year hit many drivers, households and businesses hard," said chief executive Paul Geddes. "We estimate the claims associated with the major freeze event will utilise the group’s full annual weather budget." 
The company told customers during the cold blast that there was "snowone like Direct Line" to help them battle the Arctic storms. Its shares have fallen 3.3pc today. 
Beast from the East eats up Direct Line's entire yearly budget for weather claims

Insurers are swallowing the cost of claims from the snow and sub-zero temperatures which hit the UK earlier this year
Direct Line, which also owns the Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege brands, also said that the end of its tie-ups with Nationwide and Sainsbury’s saw its home insurance partnerships drop 52pc during the quarter. 
However, in total, the company's gross insurance premiums inched up 5pc to ?769.9m for the three months to March. The insurer is well known for its adverts featuring the Churchill nodding dog and Hollywood star Harvey Keitel
It was not the only insurer to be knocked by this winter's extreme conditions, which also dented high street sales. Direct Line rival Hastings warned late last month that its claims would be higher than expected as the icy and wet conditions caused more road accidents. 
"We're now sitting here in sunshine on the south coast, so it feels like the Beast from the East has been tamed," said Hastings boss Toby van der Meer at the time.
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