Broking body lays out four point flood plan

The British Insurance Brokers' Association has called on the Government to urgently address four key issues that are missing from the Flood and Water Management Bill which aims to create a simpler and effective means of managing the risk of flood and coastal erosion.

Biba is concerned that social housing, resilient repair, guidance and signposting have all been excluded from the draft Bill, which is currently in its consultation process, and that without addressing these issues consumers could be left unprotected from future flood and that the availability of insurance cover could be at risk.

In its response to the Department for Environment Flood and Rural Affairs (defra), Biba has outlined four key areas that must be addressed:

Social Housing – Biba urges the Government to include a requirement that local authorities provide low cost insurance solutions for local authority households – particularly imposing a requirement on local authorities to set up a tenants’ contents insurance with rent scheme.

Awareness of Campaign and Signposting – Bbiba is calling for an awareness campaign so that consumers know where they can find insurance for their flood prone property. BIBA suggests that the Bill requires the Government to provide signposting from the Environment Agency website, and other appropriate websites, to sources of insurance for flood prone properties.

Guidance - Biba has suggested that there is a requirement in the Bill for Government to maintain, review and update the guidance on flood for all, including advice on an emergency flood kit and what to do before, during and after a flood.

Resilient repair - Insurers currently repair damaged properties in accordance with the building regulations, putting them back to the condition prior to flooding. There is no opportunity to improve the property to help prevent damage from future flooding. If the building regulations were to include a requirement for resilient repair, this would mean that insurers would repair the property in such a way that future floods would cause less damage, be quicker and less costly to repair. One obvious example would be to refit electrical fittings higher up the wall. Biba strongly urges this matter to be included within the Bill.

Graeme Trudgill, Biba’s technical and corporate affairs executive, said: “The draft Bill is a step in the right direction and develops many of Sir Michel Pitt’s recommendations, however there are four key areas that are missing which must be addressed by Government.”

Eric Galbraith, BIBA chief executive, explained: “The problem of flooding is not going away and the Government must listen to insurance brokers who are at the sharp end helping people to rebuild their lives after the devastation that flood brings. Cover for flood prone properties is available from brokers.”

Peter Staddon, BIBA’s head of technical services, added: “In addition to the four points we would like included, we completely disagree with the suggestion that the individual would be responsible for a new statutory nuisance for failure to maintain the flow of water through water courses.

“The law of negligence and the test of reasonableness should apply here, if it is not the property owners fault then they should not be liable. This proposal would increase the price of insurance.”

See Biba's response to Defra’s Flood and Water Management Bill.