Flood insurance agreement for homeowners extended as discussions continue

No permanent deal reached yet as industry experts call for a long term solution

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The Independent Online

The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that they will continue to voluntarily meet their commitments to offering flood insurance for an extra month after the current industry flood insurance agreement expires on 30 June.

Otto Thoresen, Director General, Association of British Insurers, said: "The Government and the ABI continue in constructive discussions on the future of flood insurance, specifically on how the components of the ABI’s proposal can be designed to best meet the needs of those at risk of flooding. There are still important issues to resolve and no deal has been reached, but negotiations are advanced and we will bring negotiations to a conclusion as soon as practicable."

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said: "This deadline has been looming for years and has not had the attention from Government we would have liked to have seen. It would be unforgivable for this situation not to be resolved as a matter of urgency, and universal flood cover to slip through our fingers. A short extension by the insurance industry is very welcome and sensible if an agreement with Government is within reach, but it is not fair on property owners to live month-by-month not knowing whether they will be able to access flood insurance for their property on reasonable terms.

"Householders and businesses have been living with this uncertainty for far too long, and it has already driven up insurance premiums. The fact remains, we still don't know whether hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses will be able to access affordable flood cover in a matter of weeks."

Alan Cripps, Associate Director of the RICS's Built Environment Group said he welcomed the voluntary commitment by the ABI.

"The implications for the property sector of the Statement running out, even with this voluntary extension, are simply staggering," he said. "First and foremost there are of course those people at risk of flooding. However, this has much wider ramifications for all property owners and landlords.

"Surveyors are responsible for the valuations that underpin insurance agreements. Without that insurance it will be nigh on impossible to get a mortgage. Without a mortgage many people will be unable to purchase property. And if properties are not insurable or mortgageable there will be a dramatic impact on their value.

"This has the potential to rule out existing residential stock at a time when we're desperately trying to close a housing deficit. It will also drive commercial businesses away from flood risk zones, deterring investment and provision of services."