Insurers welcome latest government measures to tackle flooding

The UK government has outlined its latest plans for tackling flood risk, pledging £5.2bn of investment over the next six years, including £860m over the next 18 months on over 1,000 schemes across England to protect some of the most vulnerable communities.

The announcement includes a raft of improvements to Flood Re which are designed to allow insurers to help flooded households to make their homes more resilient to future flooding using products such as air brick covers, flood doors and flood resistant plasterboard, potentially benefitting from discounted insurance premiums if they have these installed.

The government has also committed to publish a ‘property flood resilience roadmap’ by the end of next year which will further accelerate take-up of property flood resilience measures by identifying action needed from industry and government. The changes follow a government consultation and an Independent Review of Flood Insurance, led by Amanda Blanc.

Andy Bord, chief executive of Flood Re, said: “Flood Re is successfully delivering on its objective to provide access to affordable insurance for the hundreds of thousands of homes at high risk of flooding in the UK, with 94% of people with prior flood claims now able to obtain quotes from five or more insurers – compared with zero just six years ago.

“But there is still work to be done. This announcement puts Flood Re and insurers in a position to accelerate the delivery of our Build Back Better proposals and benefit more households. Achieving flood resilience requires action from a wide set of stakeholders, so we also welcome the planned publication of the PFR roadmap to provide direction and clarity.”

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers said: “We welcome this update on the government’s work to tackle flood risk – an issue of crucial importance to many communities, especially in the context of climate change.

“The government needs to provide an adequate, long-term investment programme to build new, and maintain existing, flood defences, whilst ensuring that the planning process prevents inappropriate new developments in areas at flood risk.

“Insurers will continue to support their customers who have been flooded, have committed to developing a signposting service for those who find it challenging to obtain flood insurance and remain committed to doing all we can, in partnership with the UK government and the devolved administrations, to ensure that increased flood risk is appropriately managed.”

The government says that the new flood and coastal schemes announced this week will better protect 336,000 properties by 2027, helping to avoid £32bn in wider economic damages and reducing the national flood risk by up to 11%. This follows the Environment Agency’s delivery of the government’s previous £2.6bn investment between 2015 and 2021 which aimed to better protect more than 314,000 homes.

Karl Parr, claims technical services director for AXA UK, said: “We welcome these announcements from government and their intentions to work closely with insurers to improve the UK’s flood resilience and ensure new proposals are implemented successfully.

“Flooding is the biggest natural threat facing the UK and recent events across mainland Europe remind us all about the devastating impact flooding can have on lives and communities. AXA is committed to playing its part by continuing to work with the UK government, the devolved administrations and industry counterparts to ensure that flood risk is appropriately managed and flood insurance is accessible for all those that need it.”

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