Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flood insurance argument could leave millions high and dry

Mark King in the Guardian (UK): Up to 200,000 homes in England and Wales have been warned they will struggle to obtain adequate flood insurance after June 2013, when the insurance industry's voluntary flood agreement with the government ends. In 92 constituencies there are 1,000 or more homes at high flood risk, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said after analysing the latest Environment Agency flood data.

Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire is the constituency with the most homes at significant risk of flooding, with 7,550 properties under threat, followed by the Vale of Clwyd (7,339 homes), Folkestone and Hythe (7,196), and Windsor (7,125). A property is defined as being at risk if it has a one in 75 chance of flooding in any given year.

The risk of households being unable to obtain cover is heightened by an ongoing row over who pays for the flood defences needed to maintain protection for the 5m homes at risk across the UK.

Adrian Webb of esure said there had been a "gentlemen's agreement" between insurers and the government since 1961. "The government of the time said government would be responsible for flood defences, and in turn the insurance industry would include flood cover as standard. At the end of the 1990s it was becoming clear that the government's side of the equation was not being met – and will not be met in future," he said...

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