Interim report contains 87 recommendations.

The government and insurance industry must join forces and design a programme to educate on the benefits of insurance, according to the interim report on the summer floods.

Meetings between the government and industry officials will begin early next year to determine the best strategy to convince SMEs and homeowners on the merits on insurance in the context of flooding.

The move is just one of a number of recommendations and conclusions laid out in the review by Sir Michael Pitt into the lessons learned from the floods.

Pitt also recommends customers living in areas where Flood Warning Direct – an Environment Agency initiative where people are alerted to any imminent risk – sign up as a condition of renewal of their premium.

Information on flood risk and how to mitigate it should be included with all renewal notices, the report said.

Pitt also recommended that the government and insurers work together to deliver a public education programme.

Options to improve availability and uptake of flood-risk insurance in low-income households and an assessment of costs, benefits and feasibility must be carried out before the review’s final report.

Sir Michael's interim report into the 2007 floods, put forward 87 recommendations and 15 urgent proposals to prepare Britain to cope better with future flooding.

It called for better weather forecasting, local authorities to become more involved in flood-risk management, emergency services to be better prepared, and for buildings constructed in flood-risk areas to be flood resilient.

It also urged the government to draw up a national flood emergency framework and the Environment Agency to undertake frequent and systematic monitoring of ground water levels at times of high risk.

ABI director general Stephen Haddrill called for the government to support the findings with “action and money”.

He said: “Sir Michael has confirmed that radical action is needed to improve Britain’s protection against flooding.

“The government must now support the Pitt recommendations with action and money.”

Roger Ramsden, managing director of household and life at RBS Insurance said the company supported the interim findings of the Pitt Review, but said it needed to go further in some areas.

He said: “Sir Michael’s findings reflect our concerns about future development in flood risk areas, but we would like to see Sir Michael support our call for the compulsory adoption of sustainable urban drainage to prevent newer developments overloading already-stressed local drainage systems.”

Eric Galbraith, chief executive of Biba, said: “We cannot rule out the prospect of withdrawal of flood cover in certain areas unless urgent government

action is taken consistent with the representations that have recently been made to government by insurance companies and brokers.

“Biba is also concerned to avoid an increase in rates in response to further flooding, which may act as a deterrent to home owners buying adequate insurance in the future.”

Pitts urgent recommendations

More frequent and systematic monitoring of groundwater levels at times of high risk should be undertaken by the Environmental Agency

The EA and local authorities and water companies should identify areas at highest risk of surface water flooding and inform local resilience forums

The EA should develop and implement a policy on the use of temporary and demountable defences

All local resilience forums should review current arrangements for water rescue to determine if they are still adequate

Local resilience forums should review designated rest centres and major facilities to ensure they have necessary levels of resilience to enable them to be used in the event of flooding and other major emergencies.