Andrew has provided an update on the Government's new consultation on flooding insurance reform. You can read Andrew's Facebook post below.
The Government has announced proposals to reward flood-hit homes with discounted insurance premiums if they install flooding resilience measures in their homes. The proposals aim to incentivise households to implement measures such as installing flood doors or moving electrics up walls to reduce the impact of flooding.
This comes as part of a consultation launched on the 1st February, which calls for feedback on the Government’s proposed amendments to the Flood Re Scheme (you can find a link to the consultation below). As I have mentioned to residents previously, Flood Re is a joint government and industry initiative designed to improve the affordability and availability of flood insurance for UK households that are at high flood risk. The consultation seeks feedback from these households and will help to inform future policies on both better protecting and better preparing communities from the risks of flood and coastal erosion. Since its launch in 2016, Flood Re has benefited more than 300,000 households and four out of five households with prior flood claims have seen their insurance premiums drop by more than half.
I sat on the original Bill Committee which brought in the Flood Re scheme back in 2013. Ironically, I had to leave one of the sessions of the Bill Committee to return home due to the large number of Flood Warnings in our area during the 2013 tidal surge.
The scheme has been a good attempt to spread the burden of the added costs of protecting homes in flood risk areas, but it is by no means perfect. This new consultation proposes additional insurance discounts for property owners who have fitted property level flood resilience measures which is something I welcome. Crucially, the consultation also proposes that claims paid after a flooding event could include additional cash to cover the cost of installing these flood resilience measures as homeowners recover. This is being referred to as the “build back better” proposal.
Whilst the government is providing record flood defence funding of £5.2 billion, the reality is that nobody can ever guarantee that flooding won’t occur again, even with improved defences. The increasing unpredictability of the climate which seems to manifest itself in significant storms mean that flash surface water flood, alongside increased amounts of water in out river systems seem to be becoming more common.
We need to invest in our defences to protect communities, but we also need to incentivise homeowners to improve protection for their own homes. As someone who lives alongside the River Aire myself, if I am honest, there is more I could do to protect my property from flooding and I would hope that these proposed changes will incentivise local residents such as myself to increase property level flood protection.
You can find the consultation online here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/flood-insurance-preparedness-team/amendments-to-the-flood-re-scheme/. The consultation closes 26 Apr 2021.
The Government has also pledged a record £5.2 billion for the flood and coastal defence investment programme in England over the next six years from April 2021, which will provide around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect an additional 336,000 properties.