The cost of the storms and flooding in Australia and Britain looks set to top $A9 billion over the next few days, making higher rates for motor vehicle, business and home and contents insurance almost certain next year.

The Insurance Council of Australia says the cost of the NSW storms and floods in June has topped $550 million and when final figures are released at the end of this week, could be close to $1 billion.

This does not take into account the cost of the East Victorian storm and floods several weeks ago which could add to the cost.

The figure for NSDW represents a near doubling in the early estimates after the storms on the long weekend in June.

There has been upwards of $20 million in damage to state and local government plus hundreds of millions of dollars in lost or delayed coal exports through the port of Newcastle.

These estimates also do not include the cost of the salvage of the bulk carrier, the Pasha Bulker. This is a multi-million dollar cost to the owners in Japan.

In Britain the cost continues to soar, with the latest estimate of the current flooding reaching 2 billion pounds, or more than $A4.6 billion.

That’s on top of the 1.5 billion pound cost (around $A3.4 billion) of the storms and floods in late June.

That will make 2007 the most expensive year in Britain for flood and storm damage costs for insurers.