Insurers call on Government to work with them on flood insurance problem

"Vital that insurers and Government tackle this issue together," says insurance leader

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The Independent Online

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called on the Government to work together on a joint solution to ensure long term affordable flood insurance for high-risk households. It describes the current state of talks aimed at reaching an agreement as being at an impasse.

The Government has not backed the plan to provide a temporary overdraft facility to a proposed not-for-profit special insurance fund for 200,000 high-risk households which will struggle to get affordable household insurance when the current arrangements come to an end next year. The temporary overdraft facility would be used to pay claims if there were 2007-style floods in the early years of the scheme before it had built up its reserves.

Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance at the ABI said: "The Government has indicated it will not provide any temporary overdraft facility for the insurance industry's not for profit scheme which makes it very difficult for it to go ahead. As a result, negotiations have hit an impasse. Insurers know their customers are increasingly worried about flood cover and we will therefore continue talks with Government to try and find a way forward.

"The severe floods experienced by many areas of the UK this year are a reminder of the rising flood risk facing the UK. It is therefore vital that insurers and Government tackle this issue together - this is not just a problem for insurers. No country in the world has a free market for flood insurance with high levels of affordable cover without some form of Government involvement."

The existing Statement of Principles covering flood insurance, established in 2000 as a temporary measure, is due to expire on in June 2013.