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8th Dec 07

Insurers say a plan must be put in place to manage the growing risk of flooding

Insurers say a plan must be put in place to manage the growing risk of flooding from rivers and the sea.

The insurance industry wants a new 25 year plan to deal with the risk of flooding, but for this summer's victims, the real question is will it guarantee cover in the future?

An investigation by the BBC found that it wouldn't be straightforward getting insurance in an area which had experienced flooding during the summer.

The BBC rang five insurance companies; three of them were not prepared to provide insurance for a flooded home in Hull. In an interview with BBC News, Justin Jacobs from the Association of British Insurers was asked what difference the plan would make.

"Well we think the government needs to set clear targets for reducing flood risk and create one body which will be responsible for delivering them because we saw in the summer that there were too many bodies involved and that led to too much confusion and some areas of neglect."

"Insurers want to make sure they settle claims as quickly as possible and get people back into their homes, but since the summer floods we've had 165,000 flood claims, that's 4 years normal experience so we are working as quickly as we can to get people back into their home and we've seen that within 48 hours of the floods we were able to contact most customers to work out how we could help them most effectively."

When asked about the future, and in particular his thoughts about the insurance companies who wouldn't consider new insurance policies for houses which have been flooded, Justin Jacobs commented; "Well the key thing is to make sure we address the cause of the floods. If we look at Hull, the key problem was the quality of the drainage system; it had been neglected. We need to invest in the drainage system and get it up to standard and then we can make sure insurance would be available for everyone."

"We want to be able to make sure that we can provide insurance to everyone but that relies on the government making sure that the flood risk is minimised as much as possible."

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