Friday, May 10, 2013

Flood insurance fears in the UK drive rise in calls for advice

Lisa Bachelor in the Guardian (UK): Householders [in the UK] whose homes have previously been flooded are seeking advice in record numbers over fears they will not be able to buy insurance from July onwards. The National Flood Forum (NFF) charity said the number of calls to its helpline trebled in the past year, with some callers reporting huge rises in the cost of their cover, and others saying they were unable to sell their properties.

The calls are increasing as the end of an agreement between the government and insurers approaches. This agreement, known as the "statement of principles", obliges insurers to offer flood insurance as part of standard household policies at reasonable rates, providing the government invests in flood defences. So far ministers and the industry have been unable to reach an agreement about what happens next.

The NFF said it has seen growing numbers of households getting in touch because they are struggling to sell their properties while it remains uncertain whether or not a new buyer would be able to get buildings insurance.

"I am sure everyone agrees that it is not government's business to support house prices, but you cannot ignore the likelihood of a significant markdown in value for perhaps 200,000 properties across the country," NFF chief executive Paul Cobbing said.

"Others are contacting us because their insurance premiums have been jacked up by ridiculous amounts, while a third group is telling us that insurers are now asking them for lots of extra information before they will renew their cover. This is despite the fact that under the 'statement of principles' an insurer has to continue to offer cover on renewal."...

The River Stour in flood, shot by Justin Rowe, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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