But questions remain around funding for flood education

Charity the British Red Cross has this week (December 2022) warned about the increased threat of flooding in the UK.

Its report – Every time it rains – is based on a poll of 2,000 UK adults, interviews with 12 flood and resilience experts and an online workshop with 10 focus group members.

What is of real concern is the fact that the British Red Cross highlighted that the UK population are not only seemingly unaware of the rising threat of flooding, but they are also wholly ill-prepared for worsening flooding.

Jon Guy

Jon Guy

The facts are damning. The report found:

  • 81% of respondents don’t know where to get information about floods.
  • 73% of respondents don’t have a good understanding about their area’s flood risk.
  • 15% of respondents don’t have buildings or contents insurance. Half of those without this type of insurance said their reason for not having cover was the cost of living crisis or other financial pressures.
  • 66% of respondents think the UK is currently experiencing more flooding as a result of climate change. More than three-quarters (77%) believe it is likely that climate change will result in more flooding in the UK.
  • Around 1.9 million people across the UK currently live in areas at significant risk of flooding - this number could double by the 2050s.

Alongside these worrying figures, the report additionally called for change - and the insurance industry is naturally deemed to be part of the solution when it comes to mitigating flood risk.

For example, the British Red Cross wants to see homeowners given greater support to get the right insurance against flooding.

It also wants to see greater clarity on what actions individuals and businesses should take to prepare for flooding. This needs to go hand in hand with improved engagement between local authorities and affected communities to support local action and build resilience.

Chris Davies, head of emergency planning and crisis response at the British Red Cross, said: “This research shows us that while most people recognise that climate change is increasing the risk of floods, they don’t know how to prepare or get information.

“Millions of people across the country are vulnerable, but only one in seven have taken steps to protect their homes.

“We’re calling on national and local governments to work with communities to better prepare the public for flooding. We need clearer information on what to do before, during and after a flood and we need to ensure communities fully understand the risk they face.

“With more determined action, we can help make sure people are empowered to cope with both current and future flood risk.”

I am sure these are all actions that the insurance industry would fully support, but the elephant in the room remains how and who funds the systems that would be required to deliver this education and support?