Insurance bodies welcome Flooding report

14 May 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has welcomed a recent Flooding report, published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) last week.

The report highlights a lack of awareness and vulnerability that affected large parts of the country when hit by floods last summer. In particular the report focussed on surface water flooding that hit homes previously thought to be safe.

According to EFRA, flood defence measures were almost exclusively in place for river and coastal flooding whereas floods caused by heavy rainfall were virtually ignored. This severe error of judgement cost thousands of people their homes last summer, and left home insurance providers with huge bills to foot.

The report called for clearer guidelines when it comes to floods and responsibility, stating "When the heavy rains started nobody was responsible for issuing flood warnings to those people whose properties may be affected. When drains began to overflow it was difficult to determine who was responsible for which drains."

The EFRA report proposed several measures, calling on the Government to enact them in order to prevent the same chaos occurring again. The measures include the closer involvement of the Environment Agency and insurers, and for more money to be injected into flood defences.

Chairman of the committee, the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP, said: "The public will not forgive the Government if it is not seen to be responding to the lessons learnt from the floods of last year.

"Our report has shown how confused and chaotic was the infrastructure when it came to preventing and dealing with surface water flooding. The Government must bring clarity to this situation so that the public, wherever they live, can have peace of mind that every effort is being made to avoid a repeat of the fiasco last summer."

Insurance body, ABI, has unsurprisingly welcomed the report with open arms. Director General, Stephen Haddrill said: "Despite the devastation and tragedy of last summer's floods, the UK remains ill-prepared for coping with a major flood. As the committee recommends, the Government should review the adequacy of its current flood spending plans."

Individual insurance bodies are also in support of EFRA's report, property underwriting manager at MORE TH>N, Alan Gairns, said: "Flooding is affecting more and more homes and businesses each year and the Government and insurance industry need to work together to ensure people in high risk flood areas can continue to get insurance cover in the future."

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