Trade body welcomes government flood deal

Biba has welcomed last week's agreement between the government and the ABI to ensure that flood insurance remains widely available.

But the despite the agreement, Biba says there are still properties that will be excluded from this agreement and will need specialist advice from an insurance broker.

Properties which have an annual probability of flooding greater than 1 in 75 (1.3%) and are not due to have flood defences improved within the next five years will not necessarily be covered by the agreement and could face rejection, as could all new build properties from 1st January 2009.

Biba said it had worked with broker members to provide a facility that can cover the majority of flood prone properties which have previously been refused insurance cover.

Graeme Trudgill, Biba’s technical and corporate affairs executive, said: “We see this agreement between industry and the Government as a really positive step. One that will ensure the future availability of flood cover – this is something that isn’t automatically available throughout the rest of Europe.

“The Biba facility available through brokers, which can cover the majority of properties prone to flood, has seen a significant increase in cases - in the last year enquiries have increased from 100 to 1,000 each month.”

Eric Galbraith, Biba chief executive, added: “It is clear that there will remain a number of properties unable to obtain cover from this new agreement, particularly where there are no plans in place for local flood defences. These are the properties which will be most affected and it will be important that these customers are aware that cover can be obtained through a Biba broker.”

Biba wants to see seven key issues addressed:

  • Availability of cover - Biba and its members will continue to make every effort to make flood insurance available to properties at greater risk of flooding where cover is often refused.
  • Government should establish a Cabinet Committee with a remit to improve the country’s ability to deal with flooding and implement the recommendations of the Pitt Review.
  • Government should publish an action plan to implement the recommendations of the Pitt Report.
  • The proposed Floods and Water Bill must be given sufficient space in the Parliamentary timetable for its rapid implementation.
  • The proposed flooding legislation should be a single unifying act that addresses all sources of flooding, clarifies responsibilities and facilitates flood risk management.
  • Biba will work with the Government and insurance industry to deliver a public education programme setting out the benefit of insurance in the context of flooding.
  • The Government should review and update the guidance on insurance for all, including a good practice guide for providers of social housing and disseminate it effectively to support the creation of insurance with rent schemes for low income households.
  • Brokers are well placed to help businesses become more resilient to flood and can offer a range of risk management solutions combined with specific material damage and business interruption insurances.