The Young Professionals Panel discussions (Features, 8 June) contained some very sensible views, especially on the question of flood insurance and continued building of new houses on the floodplain.

It should, perhaps, be pointed out that the insurance industry has been very proactive in some parts of the country in working closely with small groups of local planning authorities - at a river catchment level - to discourage new floodplain developments and to advise on sustainable flood management.

There are now 19 flood liaison and advice groups (Flags) covering 40% of Britain where the insurance industry's interests are represented in discussions with local planners and where the 'insurance template' is incorporated into planning strategies.

As a result, for some years now there have been virtually no new developments in such areas where the flood risk exceeds a 200-year return period (1,000 years in the case of sheltered housing and hospitals), and where existing flood risks are being sensibly managed.

A government report recommended in 2004 that all local authorities in England and Wales establish such groups, and that this kind of local proactive approach should be encouraged by the insurance industry as a whole.

But it seems that many in the industry, including your Young Professionals, seem to be unaware of this success story.

For some insurers, the existence of a local Flag is now taken into account in underwriting property risks.

If all insurers were to take this approach, perhaps more local authorities would establish their own Flags.

Professor David Crichton
Benfield Hazard Research Centre