The Irish Insurance Federation has said consumers can expect an increase in premiums as a result of the cost of recent severe weather.

The cost of claims as a result of the November floods and the January freeze has reached €541m.

Insurers are expected to pay out almost €300m as a result of the freezing weather conditions in January, while the flooding before Christmas is expected to cost insurers up to €244m.

Cork, Galway and Clare were worst affected and saw property insurance claims between commercial and household property of over €141m, €23m and €16m respectively.

Most of the claims from the freezing conditions were as a result of burst pipes.

Irish Insurance Federation Chief Executive Mike Kemp said that the industry paid out an estimated €10m per day in claims during the seven-week period of the severe weather.

The claims amount to 60% of the insurance industry income in a given year - 31,000 customers made claims.

The cost of covering claims as a result of the freezing conditions amounts to the single largest event ever for the insurance industry, according to Mr Kemp.

He said that poor infrastructure, planning and management on the ground have exacerbated the difficulties faced during severe weather events.

Mr Kemp said that the amount of money invested in flood defences is an issue and said that a flood liaison and advice group should be established in order to better manage such events.

Rising premiums for some may be a problem but for others the possibility of withdrawing flood cover in a growing number of areas has not been ruled out by the Insurance Federation.