Flood risk homes retain insurance

Properties in flood risk areas can continue to receive insurance cover, providing adequate flood defences are in place, the Association of British Insurers has said.

Previously, the ABI had said they would only cover these properties until 2007. However, the commitment has now been renewed for existing customers in those areas of significant risk where there are plans to improve flood defences within five years.

However, new customers are not covered by the commitment. A spokesperson for ABI told edie that this didn’t mean new customers wouldn’t be able to get any cover, but simply that there was no obligation from insurance companies to provide any.

Under the terms of the commitment, flood cover will continue to be offered as a standard feature of household and small business policies where properties are protected by flood defences to a standard of 1.3% annual probability – or 1 in 75 year chance of flooding.

However, the cost of premiums will still reflect the degree of risk involved.

Around 100,000 homes in areas of greater flood risk are earmarked for improved flood protection over the next five years, as a result of greater investment by the Government. This means that areas such as Selby in N Yorkshire, Fordingbridge in Hampshire, and West Bridgeford in Nottingham, could benefit from the new commitment.

Stephen Hadrill, Director General of the ABI said the renewed commitment was good news for millions of properties and that the government’s commitment to effective management of flood risk was very welcome.

“However, we expect climate change to dramatically increase the flood risk, so continued improvements on the ground are vital,” he added. “For flood insurance to remain widely available, the Government must make further progress in reducing the flood risk in vulnerable communities throughout the country.”

Elliot Morley, Environment Minister, said the revised statement represented a combined commitment from the government and industry to maintain and improve protection. But, he went on:

“There is a responsibility on all of us to take what action we can to reduce our exposure to the damaging effects of flooding, which can never be completely eliminated, for example by becoming more aware of the risk and taking action to protect our possessions and make our homes more resilient.”

The Environment Agency has this week launched a TV advert as part of its campaign to promote flood awareness. The 20 second advert will run on Border TV for eight weeks and contains the Agency’s FloodLine number and website address as well as general advice about flooding.

David Hopkins

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