UK Petition: People Need Flood Insurance

There’s a lot of activity at the moment regarding the state of flood insurance in the United Kingdom.

There is currently in existence a “Statement of Principles” between the UK government and the insurance companies, that forces an obligation on the part of the insurance companies to offer flood insurance at an affordable rate. The agreement, first made in 2008, was aimed to make sure tha flood insurance remained as part of standard policies. In turn, the government was to further invest in flood defences and protection.

Earlier this year, the UK government declared it was to start work on flood defences that would benefit almost 65,000 homes, and involve over 90 seperate projects. The cost of investment would total around £360 million UK Pounds. For a list of all the different projects, see the BBC page here.

Sadly, the Statement of Principles is due to run out in June this year (2013). Failure to re-new or replace the existing agreement has left a cloud over flood insurance issues in the UK, and has prompted a leading UK flood charity, National Flood Forum, to accuse the government of “playing with people’s lives”. The government has been in talks with the Association of British Insurers (ABI – the body representing the insurance industry) for months, yet still without any outcome. It was suggested that a temporary extension could be agreed, although this was soon dismissed by the ABI.

It is therefore a worrying scenario that, from June this year, flood insurance will return to a “free market”, and insurers can charge the going rate for flood cover. However, since no agreement or replacement for the Statement of Principles in on the horizon, insurance companies have already been increasing premiums and costs have shot up for many people in known flood zones. According to the goverment department, the Environment Agency, it is estimated that 570,000 properties in England and Wales are at significant risk of flooding.

This issue has also led to something of a clash between thos who live in flood prone areas and those who do not. Many who live away from a flood zone see the agreement between government and British insurers as a way of getting them to pay for the higher insurance costs of homeowners who live in flood prone areas.

On the side of those under threat of flooding, Charles Tucker, chairman of the National Flood Forum, has set up an online petition, calling on the UK government:

“…to take immediate action that will ensure flood victims and flood hit communities can obtain affordable flood insurance after 2013, in the interests of individuals, communities and the national economy”.

At the time of writing, the petition had just under 1000 signatures. The petition can be seen here.

There was also a recent debate in the House of Commons regarding the inability of the government to come to an agreement with UK insurers. The opposition Environment Minister, Labour MP Gavin Shuker, stated in the House that should the current deal expire, many homeowners would be facing “unfettered free market and unsellable homes”.

There has been support form all political parties for there to be some form of replacement for the statement of Principles agreement of 2008.

3 thoughts on “UK Petition: People Need Flood Insurance

  1. Maria_Paulson

    - Edit

    I do have some sympathy for those who aren’t in flood zones but are subsidizing the insurance of those are are. However, where I live, floods were pretty much unknown until this last decade.

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