Independent review launched into access to insurance in flood-hit areas

An independent review has been launched by the Government into why so many homes and businesses hit by the November floods were unable to get adequate insurance cover.

Environment Secretary George Eustice first announced the review in December and it was yesterday confirmed it would be led by Amanda Blanc, the former chair of the Association of British Insurers, to find out whether there were systematic issues in getting the right cover.

Doncaster will be used as a case study, where more than 760 properties were flooded in November and the River Don recorded its highest ever levels on November 8.

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South Yorkshire saw its wettest November on record last year, with over two and a half times the average rainfall.

It is hoped the review, which will report in September, will provide recommendations to enable homes and businesses to access sufficient insurance cover for flooding while also informing any future policy decisions in this area.

Last month Doncaster mayor Ros Jones said: “Questions need to be asked at some sections of the insurance industry and some of their morals.

“Some firms have been extremely good and have stepped up. Fair play to them but others have not assisted.

“You’ve got to feel for every family affected - it’s terrible. People are faced with an impossible and say do I put food on the table for my children or do I pay for the insurance well into four figures?”

Don Valley Conservative MP Nick Fletcher welcomed the review and said: “We need to see what it brings and act on it.”

He said he had met with a number of flood victims who were unable to afford insurance premiums and that he was pleased that, despite coronavirus, the review was still going ahead now.

“If we come out of this and then we have flooding again people will, quite rightly, be asking what we’ve been doing to help,” he said. “This is a positive for Doncaster.”

Flooding Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I saw first-hand the awful impact flooding can have on communities across many parts of the country this winter. We want at risk homes and businesses to be able to access sufficient insurance so they have the help they need to get back on their feet as soon as possible after a flood.”

While Ms Blanc added: “Flooding is a truly devastating event for any householder or business to suffer with consequences that can take many months or even years to overcome. Appropriate and adequate flood insurance can greatly assist with this recovery; helping to get families back into their homes and put businesses back on their feet.

“However, for insurance to be effective, all communities, including those most at risk, should consider that flood cover is both available and affordable. I am keen to start work to ascertain if this has been the case in Doncaster under the current system and to make recommendations to ensure the benefits of flood insurance are accessible to all.”