Insurance payout helps Lowestoft car dealer Lings bounce back

Lowestoft car dealership, Lings is now up and running after the recent floods.
Sales manager Ben Thompson at the showroom. Lowestoft car dealership, Lings is now up and running after the recent floods. Sales manager Ben Thompson at the showroom.

Thursday, March 20, 2014
11:17 AM

A Lowestoft-based car dealer is on the road to recovery after its insurers agreed to replace a £1.5m worth of vehicles destroyed by the winter storm surge.

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Work starts on clearing flood water at Lings motors, Lowestoft.Work starts on clearing flood water at Lings motors, Lowestoft.

Lings Honda, in Riverside Road, is celebrating being back open for business with a fresh fleet of cars and motorbikes – a stark contrast to four months ago when it was submerged under 4ft of water.

The firm was forced to scrap nearly 300 vehicles in the aftermath of the freak weather event on the night of December 5 because the salt water flooding left them beyond repair.

But the welcome news comes as other businesses across the region are still struggling to recover from the tidal surge because they did not have adequate insurance cover, or the insurers failed to pay out. The firm, which employs 20 people and has a turnover of £18m, said it is now considering investing in flood defences to tackle future weather events.

Ben Thompson, sales manager, said: “We took the Aviva insurance just in case, but we never expected that we would ever have to use it.

Lings Honda in Horn Hill Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013Lings Honda in Horn Hill Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013

“I expected the worst, but even I didn’t think it would be that bad. The entire site was under 4ft of water and the office had to be gutted.

“We watched the security footage and it only took about 20 minutes for the water to get to knee level.

“Unfortunately salt water damage is far worse then fresh water damage, so we ended up having to lose about 200 cars and 60 to 70 motorbikes.

“The forecourt is on a slight gradient, so while the ones at the top got wet, the cars on the lower floor got lifted away from the ground and were bumping into each other. What seemed like a terrible experience at the time has now paid for itself.

“But we were lucky in the sense that we had paid for strong

cover.”

Are you still waiting for an insurance pay out? Contact business writer Ben Woods on 01603 772426.

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