Rise in flood risk could make one million homes uninsurable
Firms warn of effect of government spending cuts on planned defences
Sunday 09 January 2011
Homeowners living near rivers and the coast face losing up to 40 per cent of the value of their homes as flood risk makes them uninsurable.
More than a million homes and 300,000 businesses are at risk, including those in parts of London, Southend, Brighton, Reading, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Middlesbrough, Blackpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Environment Agency says.
The insurance industry points to evidence that climate change and rising sea levels will increase the likelihood of floods. It has an agreement with the Government – which runs out in 2013 – committing it to provide cover for customers, as long as flood risk is properly managed.
Insurers are expressing concern about cuts to investment in flood defences implied in the coalition's Comprehensive Spending Review, and the affect of funding cuts on extending the agreement – the UK is currently one of the few countries to provide flood coverage automatically through property insurance.
Nick Starling, of the Association of British Insurers, said: "We must ensure that our spending on flood defences and flood management is targeted to those areas where it is needed the most, and that the Government implements a long-term flood management strategy."
Flooding is expensive for insurers, with claims typically between £20,000 and £40,000. In the past decade insurers have paid out £4.5bn to customers whose homes or businesses have flooded, three times the £1.5bn paid in the previous decade.
Under the spending review, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs took a 29 per cent budget cut, including £110m from planned spending on new flood defences. Defra insists flood risk management is a "priority".
Some 20,000 families in Essex coastal areas say they have lost equity and are struggling with increasing premiums. Essex County Council has approached the Government for £20m to build a sea wall to protect 35 high-flood-risk homes at Great Wavering. The Environment Agency has completed 160 flood schemes defending 160,000 properties since 2007.
Dr Paul Leinster, its chief executive said: "We will continue to reduce flood risk by investing in defence schemes, but it is essential that people are all also better prepared, by signing up to the Environment Agency's flood warning service and rebuilding damaged properties to make them more flood-proof."
'It'll be harder to sell now'
Wot Blowers, 62, a self-employed gardener from Cockermouth, Cumbria, was rehoused through her insurance company following floods in the county in 2009
"It was awful. I was out of my home for nearly a year. I am back now, but it has taken the best part of a year to get the house fixed. The whole of the ground floor was flooded halfway to the ceiling.
"I probably have lost value on my house. I've been wanting to sell it for years, but it's going to be a lot harder now. My premium was £150 originally, but when I got my insurance renewal it was £2,111. I spoke to Trading Standards, but it's still higher than it was."
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
At long last, Australia is able to halt the relentless advance of the cane toad
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...
£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...