Minister torpedoes claims over homes at risk of flooding


Home insurance firms were blamed for the rising price of cover for homes in flood risk areas in a scathing attack from environment minister Ricard Benyon.

Home insurers were accused of hiding behind a disputed flood defence agreement with the government as an excuse for putting up premiums.

Speaking at the National Flood Forum in London, Benyon told delegates that renewing the statement of principles agreement would make no difference to millions of homeowners facing higher home insurance costs.

The statement is a pledge by the government to provide flood prevention works while insurers continue to offer cover to homes.

The agreement ends in May 2013 and the government and insurers are locked in a dispute about renewal.

The government is spending less on flood prevention as part of the programme of cuts. Insurance firms are increasing premiums or denying households cover as a result. The fear is millions of homes in flood risk areas will have no buildings cover and may become unmortgageable, pushing prices down and stranding owners in homes they cannot sell.

The minister claims the statement of principles is “widely misunderstood”.

“The current agreement does not apply to the majority of households at significant risk, nor does it apply to homes built since January 2009. It provides no universal guarantee of flood cover as many claim that it does, nor does the agreement influence the pricing of policies,” said the minister.

“The issue that confronts us today is not the ending of the agreement, as renewing it would not solve the problem. The real issue is that insurers are changing their approach to pricing flood risk.”

“In the past insurers have charged all policyholders basically the same price for flood cover regardless how likely future flood damage is. This is not because of the agreement, but because of other factors such as insurers wanting to keep policies simple and transaction costs low and avoid losing market share to other insurers.

“In practice this means that customers at low or no flood risk have been subsidising the cost of flood insurance in high risk areas through their premiums.

“This places insurers at risk of being undercut by other insurers who are cherry picking low risk customers. This, together with increasingly sophisticated tools for assessing customers’ flood risk, means that prices in flood risk areas are changing.

“Customers are increasingly likely to be offered terms that more accurately reflect the degree of risk the insurer is taking on, and this is a trend that has been taking place for some time.”

Fortunately some insurers like to think a little differently and at Quoteline Direct you’ll find great deals on flood risk insurance.

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2 Responses to Minister torpedoes claims over homes at risk of flooding

  1. Flood insurance will hit the headlines more often as we get closer to the ending of the agreement, but if you live in an at risk area or have suffered flooding in the past you do not need to panic. Specialist insurers take into account all of the risk factors including past history, flood defences, your own flood defences and any other mitigating circumstances. They will then price the policy cover as appropriate for the risk. The fact is that as the agreement comes to a close then you may be forced to find a specialist provider rather than rely on your existing supplier if you want to pay a realistic and not inflated price. Try The Property Insurer for specialist flood insurance provision.

  2. The Insurance Blogger says:

    Thanks for the heads-up…will get it fixed!

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