Clouds gather over flood insurance premiums

Thousands of property owners will find out before Easter whether their insurance premiums are likely to increase dramatically because their homes are prone to flooding.

The Environment Agency now says it will publish its latest flood defence strategy within two weeks. It will also produce an updated version of its national flood map on 4 April, showing every single property in Britain it now deems vulnerable to flooding.

When the agency first began updating its maps, last October, it warned that 2.2 million homes were at risk, 300,000 more than previously estimated. The latest maps are not expected to produce such dramatic results, but premiums could still be affected.

Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: "In the vast majority of cases, insurance will still be available, though we are concerned about the number of new properties that are being built on flood plains; 50,000 at-risk homes are planned for the South-east alone."

The Government last year brokered a deal with insurers, which agreed to continue offering cover to existing clients in at-risk areas as long as public spending on flood defences was increased. However, the cost of home insurance has already increased by between 10 and 20 per cent a year over the past five years, following a sharp rise in the number of claims related to bad weather. ABI members paid out £6 billion in weather-related claims between 1998 and 2003, twice as much as in the previous five years.

Richard Mason, director of independent analyst Insuresupermarket, said policyholders in many areas of the country would need to find insurers with specialist flood expertise in order to reduce costs.

"Some insurers are adopting more sophisticated measures of assessing risk," Mason said. "You could save an average of £110 a year by switching to a better deal, even if you live in a flood-risk area."

Insurer More Than will next week unveil its flood map technology, one of few systems able to set premiums based on individual homes, rather than all the properties in a postcode.

Norwich Union is the only other insurer that tailors premiums to individual properties. When NU launched its property-specific flood map last year, it found it was able to offer cover to 600,000 homes that it might previously have rejected.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there