The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned that the flood risk faced by communities in political constituencies across England and Wales presents a “worrying”‘ situation.
It selected “Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire as the constituency with the most homes at significant risk of flooding followed by the Vale of Clwyd, Folkestone and Hythe, then Windsor. In 92 constituencies there are 1,000 or more homes at high flood risk.”
The ABI explained that it has analyzed the latest Environment Agency flood data against the 573 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales. “This shows that, despite Government pledges to tackle the rising flood threat, thousands of homes and businesses remain at significant flood risk. Significant flood risk is defined as a greater than 1 in 75 chance of flood in any given year.”
The bulletin also noted that these findings reinforce the ABI’s warning that, “with the insurance industry’s voluntary flood agreement with the Government ending in June 2013, a new sustainable long-term solution needs to be urgently agreed to avoid as many as 200,000 high-risk households facing problems in getting flood insurance after then.”
The ABI summarized the following constituencies as having the most homes at significant flood risk:
Boston and Skegness, where 7,550 homes are at significant flood risk
Vale of Clwyd 7,339
Folkestone and Hythe 7,196
Runnymede and Weybridge 6,541
Clwyd West 6,160
Nottingham (south) 5,043
Great Yarmouth 4,965
Sittingbourne and Sheppey 4,295
Leeds (central) 4,209
The ABI’s Director General Otto Thoresen commented: “We are running out of time to make sure that people in high risk areas are properly protected from the devastation flooding can cause and the ball is now in the Government’s court. Insurers want to make sure that every home has access to affordable insurance, should the worst happen, and we’re concerned that those people most at risk will lose out unless the Government considers a safety net.
“We are frustrated with the progress of our talks with the Government on this issue and want it to look urgently at a model that would allow flood cover to remain widely available and competitively priced. No country in the world has an entirely free market providing universal affordable flood insurance, and action is needed now to avoid 200,000 high-risk homes struggling to afford cover.”
The ABI explained that the “current Flood Insurance Statement of Principles agreement with the Government agreed back in 2000 as a short-term measure ends in June 2013. Until then insurers will continue to offer flood insurance to existing customers including those at high risk (up to a 1 in 75 year flood risk probability).It will not be renewed as it grossly distorts the market as: people in lower risk flood areas pay more to subsidize those at higher risk; customers in high risk areas are tied to their existing insurer, and those insurers covered by it have ended up with a disproportionate number of high flood risk properties.”
Source: Association of British Insurers
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