Thursday, June 24, 2010

Home insurance Catch-22 for those living near UK floodplain

Lisa Bachelor in the Guardian (UK): Homeowners who live in or near a floodplain are caught up in a Catch-22 situation when it comes to getting insurance, according to a Which? report released today. Before an insurer agrees to protect a property, it will require the owner to reveal, to the best of their knowledge, whether they live in a flood risk area. If they disclose information on flooding, the insurer may not offer cover. But if the owner doesn't pass on information, any claim they make on their insurance could be dismissed, said the consumer body.

To beat this risk, says Which?, it makes sense to approach only insurers that consider a home's specific risk rather than basing quotes on the area. It found that different insurers' approach to assessing flood risk varied wildly. Some use sophisticated techniques to analyse potential flood risk and others rely on more general postcode data.

Of the 50 insurance companies Which? tested, Aviva and Stroud & Swindon offered the most comprehensive solutions currently available. They use the latest mapping systems that take into account the proximity of waterways and any other relevant terrain features, and combine information with the Environment Agency (EA) flood map and flood defence data to pinpoint an individual property's flood risk.

…Malcolm Tarling of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that most households were able to get some level of flood cover from their insurance company and that insurers were increasingly using more sophisticated data to assess flood risk....

A flood bank near the Severn River, shot by Stuart Wilding, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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