The country, its government and its insurers will need to act on the threat that flooding is posing and will continue to pose

By Jon Guy 

As Europe suffers under another extreme heatwave this week, the UK has been warned that climate change will test the very limits of the country’s flood resilience.

Over the past decade Europe, and particularly north western Europe, has seen its temperatures rising at a rate that outstrips the rest of the world.

Jon Guy

Jon Guy

Flood Re has released its annual report and its chief executive Andy Bord makes it clear that the country, its government and its insurers will need to act on the threat that flooding is posing and will continue to pose.

Bord explained: “Climate change is having and will continue to have a major impact on the UK with river, coastal and surface water flooding all on the rise.

”With over two million people across the UK already exposed to frequent flooding and the average cost of repairing a flooded home being in excess of £30,000, the time for action on adaptation to climate change is now.

“Whilst government remains committed to investing in flood defences there needs to be as much focus, if not more, on driving forward adaptation.

”That is why we launched the Build Back Better Scheme, are driving forward on plans for Flood Performance Certificates and have made the creation of a Centre of Excellence as priorities in our Transition Plan.

“Build Back Better has laid the groundwork for increased property flood resilience take-up, with the potential to dramatically enhance property and community flood resilience and reduce costs. To fully realise its potential, we would like to see Build Back Better offered as standard in all home insurance policies for those living at high flood risk.”

Increasing threat

It is clear that the threat is increasing. The insurance industry has long had a strained relationship with successive UK governments over flood defence investment and the need for more stringent planning rules around the development of homes and businesses on flood plains.

With the development of more accurate flood data, and with it the ability to identify flood threats to individual properties, the core principle of insurance – to protect against the unexpected – is put to the test.

What it creates is a need for property owners to have a far better understanding of their flood risk, for prospective buyers to be made aware of the property’s flood exposure and for the industry to undertake a concerted campaign to highlight the need for greater flood resilience in new builds and existing properties. This must include a clear explanation of the insurance implications if such resilience is not delivered.