New Flood Policy Wants Greater Industry Engagement

Flood Re has welcomed the UK Government’s plans to invest £5.2 billion to enhance the country’s ability to tackle the risks of flooding and coastal erosion.

The plans were outlined in the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Policy statement issued yesterday.

The measures laid out in the document, include the investment of £5.2 billion to create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties in England by 2027.

The document also addresses the range of measures it seeks to take with the insurance sector to improve flood resilience in buildings and look to enable underwriters to offer lower rates for owners who take steps to protect their properties from the impact of flooding.

The policy document states: “The buildings industry, insurance industry and experts in building materials all need to play their part – and are collaborating through the Property flood resilience Roundtable. Property owners, occupiers, the insurance industry and councils need to be confident about the potential measures and the benefits.

“By generating greater reassurance and confidence in property flood resilience, we will stimulate wider action by all to act on their flood risk and complement public investment at a community level.”

Those plans include:

  • Encouraging a faster transition of the marketplace for property flood resilience -related advice, products and incentives.
  • Drive greater awareness of the actions people can take proactively before any flooding and ensure that practical advice for property owners and occupiers is available at the right time when making decisions about their properties. This requires suitably trained advisors in all parts of the market – including the property and insurance sectors – so that they consider and apply the benefits of property flood resilience in their work.
  • Ensure the right incentives and financial products are available to encourage property flood resilience installation. This includes strengthening links between property flood resilience and the cost of flood insurance for those at high risk. This will require that robust data about the value of resilience measures within properties is collected and made available to insurers, businesses and householders.
  • Consider options to further remove barriers to the uptake of property flood resilience in homes through the operation of the Flood Re scheme. This will include further encouraging insurers to price their policies to reflect reductions in risk as a result of property flood resilience – for example by enabling discounted premiums to be available to households which have been fitted with flood resilience measures. It will also include enabling the scheme to support pay-outs which cover the installation of more resilient repairs – so that properties are less likely to flood in future and damages are less severe; and
  • To further speed up resilient homes we will work with Flood Re and the insurance industry to explore whether it would be beneficial for insurers to share more information with customers about their flood risk – encouraging everyone to take responsibility to encourage greater uptake. As part of this we will also explore whether there is more that the Flood Re scheme could do to accelerate uptake of PFR, which could include using the scheme’s currently available funding.

It added: “We will also pursue some technical changes to deliver better value for money. Appropriate insurance is an important tool in supporting recovery from flooding and helping people to get back to normal more quickly. We want to ensure that flood insurance is both accessible and affordable for people in flood risk areas.”

Flood Re welcomed the policy adding it was pleased to see much of the specific changes to the Scheme, as proposed in Flood Re’s Quinquennial Review (QQR), which was published 12 months ago have been included.

“These changes include giving Flood Re the ability to offer discounted premiums to households that have fitted flood resilience measures to their property, such as airbrick covers or non-return valves. They will also permit the payment of claims to include an additional amount to Build Back Better, in a more flood resilient way,” it said in a statement. “These amendments will help to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Scheme and will ultimately assist in the Scheme’s transition out of the market by 2039.”

Andy Bord, (pic) Chief Executive of Flood Re, added: “I welcome the Government’s commitment today to making the nation more resilient to future flooding.

“Flood Re enables access to affordable insurance for hundreds of thousands of homes at high risk of flooding. We believe it is very important that the country is built back better and making homes more resilient through the uptake of property flood resilience adaptations is a key part of addressing the increasing threat of flooding resulting from climate change.”