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Posted On: Jan. 14, 1996 12:00 AM CST

LONDON-U.K. insurers may face more than $500 million in claims from recent freezing weather, a loss adjuster estimates.

Nicholas Balcombe, chief executive of Balcombe Group P.L.C. in London, estimates losses at 350 million ($542.5 million).

A week of freezing in late December, followed by a rapid thaw, caused pipes to burst, flooding shops, offices, factories and homes. Scotland and northeast England were badly hit. Broken pipes so strained the water supply that many businesses were asked not to reopen immediately after the Christmas break.

Claims for property damage, lost inventory, damage to sprinkler systems and business interruption are being filed, said Norwich Union Insurance Group. Multiline insurers say it is still too early to assess losses.