Defences in some areas of UK were unable to overcome Storm Desmond despite being built or upgraded in recent years

Storm desmond 2

Flood defences in some areas hit by Storm Desmond over the weekend were unable to fully withstand its force, despite being built or upgraded over the past few years, PwC has said.

General insurance head Mohammad Khan said this meant that investment in defences against natural catastrophes needed to increase to minimise the damage that could be caused by extreme weather events.

Despite relatively benign weather over the last few years, Khan added that the latest climate change models indicated that the frequency of extreme weather events affecting households in the UK were likely to increase over time.

Khan added: “It also highlights the need for an insurance mechanism such as Flood Re which will come into place next year, so that when a natural weather event hits UK households, they have insurance cover in place to be able to help with the financial burden.”

Jon Williams, partner in PwC’s sustainability and climate change team added: “With the fiscal constraints that the UK Government currently faces, the role of the private sector has never been more important. Whether it is financing flood defences or innovative insurance solutions, such as Flood Re, cooperation between public and private institutions is needed to accelerate overdue action to protect assets and communities from the impacts of extreme weather.

“A failure to act in the short term will be costly in the long term: to home-owners, industry, insurers, banks and government.”

Khan said that small businesses in flood affected areas, who will not be covered by Flood Re, need to ensure that they have either sufficient insurance cover in place or capital to cover the impact of a weather event should it occur.

Williams said the recent floods in the UK brought into sharp focus the need for a durable climate deal in Paris this week.

At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change summit 196 countries are meeting to sign a new climate change agreement.