The Association of British Insurers is today urging the Government to help prevent a repeat of this summer's devastating floods through the creation of a national flood strategy.
The floods, which hit homes in the north east and south west of the country in June, affected an estimated 27,500 homes and 7,000 businesses, at a cost of £1.5billion. The ABI estimated at the time that around a quarter of the homes affected were not insured, and figures from Moneysupermarket.com showed that home insurance applications went up by 300 per cent in the months following the floods.
Nevertheless, insurance companies were still hit hard, with Aviva, the company behind Norwich Union, having to pay out around £175million in insurance claims.
The ABI says that although insurers are still prepared to insure against floods, more needs to done to prevent them in the first place, otherwise policies will become unaffordable for some due to the massive risk the insurers will be taking on.
"This summer’s devastating floods highlight the urgent need for a long-term strategy based around more investment, national coordination and better land use planning," said Stephen Haddrill, Director General of the ABI.
“Insurers want to continue to provide flood insurance. The right decisions from the Government will ensure that flood insurance remains widely available and affordable in the UK.”
The ABI is calling for a single national body to be responsible for flood management, and an investment programme that reflects climate change and the real flood risks from rivers, coasts and drainage. It also wants to see stronger planning controls to ensure that new developments are not built in high flood-risk areas wherever possible.
In support of its calls for a national plan, the ABI has today also released the results of an opinion survey taken from those living in Yorkshire and Humberside, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire - the areas worst affected by the summer floods.
Sixty-seven per cent of residents said they were affected by the floods, and almost the same number – 61 per cent – believe they will suffer flooding again unless something is done, with residents saying that an overhaul of drainage systems is the most urgent measure now needed to reduce the risk of future flooding.
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