Flood boost for industry

The insurance industry has received qualified praise from one its most high profile critics after former Home Secretary David Blunkett (above) softened in the wake of Sir Michael Pitt’s flood review, writes Lauren MacGillivray.

Blunkett had previously accused some insurers of failing to meet their commitments to victims of last summer’s floods, and told Insurance Times in November that he was in a long-running battle with the ABI.

But last week during a question time held by Insurance Times, the MP for Sheffield Brightside said: “I do think the insurance industry comes out of the review much better than they went into it. I think there’s not only been enormous progress in terms of helping people with insurance, particularly with structural insurance, but also a number of lessons learned.”

The flood review was relatively positive towards insurers and Pitt singled out the construction industry as the main reason that over 4,000 homes were still unfit to live in.

But Blunkett reiterated his earlier criticism that insurers were failing to work closely with loss adjusters.

He said: “There are still questions about the relationship with loss adjusters, loss adjusters in terms of contractors – the way that worked for individuals and families, and for getting messages across to small, self-employed businesses, in terms of business continuity, and the 14% of business and commerce which have full insurance and the 86% that either have only partial or no insurance at all.

“So there are some big challenges and I wouldn’t want the industry simply to pat itself on the back. Let one or two of us which are critical do a bit of patting.”

Overall, Blunkett said he was pleased with Pitt’s 92 recommendations, which included proposals for insurers and government to fund research into technology to dry homes faster, as well as education programmes on the importance of insurance.