Flood insurance scheme must go further, MP says, as consultation closes

A Yorkshire MP has said a scheme to protect flood hit householders from being denied insurance must go much further if more people are going to be protected from devastating disasters.

It comes as a Government consultation into the Flood Re scheme closed last night.

The initiative allows insurance companies to reinsure properties built before 2009 in floodplain areas, in effect passing the risk of flooding onto the Government.

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And the Government said since its launch in 2016, more than 300,000 households have benefited from Flood Re, with four out of five households with prior flood claims seeing reductions in their insurance premiums by more than half.

A flood warden looks at the water levels of the River Calder in Mytholmroyd in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. Photo: PA

But a consultation was launched in February to see whether they could also receive additional funds to make their homes more resilient before flooding occurred.

That consultation closed last night, and Emma Hardy - Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle - said she felt the scheme needed to go further.

Ms Hardy said the Humber has the second largest area of floodplain in the UK, and Hull tops the list of local authorities with the largest number of homes classified as at high risk of flooding, at nearly 20,000 properties.

In 2007, Hull was hit by floods causing £40m worth of damage and since there have been multiple deluges across Yorkshire causing untold misery.

Last year insurers said the clean-up bill following storms Dennis and Ciara is set to top £360m.

Ms Hardy said: “ I am calling on three further improvements that will ensure my constituents are properly protected with flood insurance. First, there needs to be a change to the eligibility of the Flood Re scheme to include homes built after 2009. Secondly, we need to see the introduction of a new scheme whereby residents can flood proof their homes, and thirdly the Flood Re Scheme protections need extending to include small and medium enterprises.”

She said: “I have sent my response to the relevant bodies and I am very willing to work with them in implementing these necessary changes, so that everyone in my constituency, and further across the Humber region, get the protection they need.”

Additional measures being considered are reducing the cheapest subsidised premium for contents insurance provided for by Flood Re (£52), as evidence from Amanda Blanc’s Independent Review of Insurance, commissioned by the government, suggest these could still be too high for households on low incomes.

And it also looked at further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding.

Floods minister Rebecca Pow previously said: “The plans will give people in flood-hit areas more help to build back better and reduce the risk to homeowners in the future.”

A Defra spokesperson said yesterday: “The proposals in the our consultation are designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Flood Re scheme and encourage greater uptake of property flood resilience among households at high-risk of flooding across the UK. We are grateful to all those who made submissions to this consultation and will set out the next steps in due course.”