Trade body wants Vat exemptions for homeowners and businesses.

Biba has called on the government to work closely with the insurance industry to protect households and businesses across the UK from flooding.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has promised £5m to help residents of areas vulnerable to flooding, including a free home survey to assess risk for low-income families.

In its response to consultation on the Defra proposals, Biba has called for the free surveys to be offered to all homes and businesses in high-risk flood zones.

The brokers’ association also wants a Vat exemption for all flood repair work and has urged the government to develop updated and detailed flood maps, with help from the industry.

Insurers should play their part by offering discounts or improved terms and conditions to responsible property owners who acted to reduce flood risk, said Biba.

Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive at Biba, said: “We support the government’s plans, but want to ensure that flood prevention is the priority. We don’t want to see money washed away fixing the effects. Let’s focus on the causes.

“It is in a property owner’s interest to plan for the long term, but this can be expensive. That’s why we are calling on the government to provide Vat exemptions for responsible homeowners and businesses who invest to protect their property.”

A spokesman for Defra said it welcomed Biba’s input: “Ministers from both Defra and the Department of Communities and Local Government talk regularly with the insurance industry and have worked to agree the statement of principles to ensure the provision of flood insurance.”