The ABI is calling for more government investment in flood defences as the number of homes and businesses at risk of flooding rose to more than half a million.

The latest figures from the Environment Agency have revealed that 570,000 homes and businesses are at high flood risk because of changing climates, compared to 220,000 when current flood spending levels were set in 2002.

Stephen Sklaroff, ABI deputy director general, said: "The new, higher estimates of properties at high flood risk means government need to invest more in flood defences, so ensuring that Britain remains one of the few countries where flood insurance is widely available from the private market."

Earlier this year a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee urged ministers to take immediate action and increase spending on flood defences to £1bn.

The ABI insists that investment makes economic sense as flood defence projects yield around six times the money invested in them.

In 2004 about 700 homes were built in flood risk areas against agency advice. The committee estimated that more than five million people and two million homes and businesses in the UK are at risk of flooding, with assets valued at around £250bn.

£400m of insurance fraud detected
Insurance fraud detected by the insurance industry topped £400m in 2005, an increase of 50% on the previous year, according to ABI figures to be published next week.

The ABI will say the figures show insurers are getting better at targeting high value fraud, with larger insurers being best at focusing on top-end fraudsters.

The highest levels of claims repudiated because of fraud were in travel and liability insurance. The lowest was in commercial property.