“£456,000 flood defence grant for Property protection”
“£1.3m extra to help homes in high-risk flood areas”
“Property protection Improvements for Cornwall residents “
“Property Protection funding for Great Ayton Residents”
Could Homes in flood-risk areas become uninsurable and unsellable?
Many homes in flood-risk areas are under the threat of being blacklisted, which could leave them uninsurable and unsellable.
Aproximately 5.5 million properties classed as ‘at risk of flooding’ are caught in the middle of a tug of war between the insurer, wh are in business to return a profit, and the Government, who are having to make cut backs to expenditure. There are also over 200,000 commercial properties that are at risk from flooding and will be affected in the same way. They too face heavy insurance hikes and the scale of their excesses means that many of them will also be in breach of their lenders covenants. Many more will not have adequately planned their business continuity plans for flood preparedness which will breach their insurance policy.
Currently an agreement exists, called the Statement of Principles, between the insurers and the Government. in which it is agreed that the insurers will provide cover for existing homes in flood-prone areas, however they can choose to increase premiums to reflect the added risk. Insurers also agree to continue covering existing homes in areas of very high flood risk subject to the Environment
maintaining plans to cut flood risk in those areas within five years and the
properties are already insured. However this deal expires in June 2013 and as, yet there, are no signs of a new agreement being struck. The draft Planning Policy Framework,, which is designed to streamline the planning process is causing widespread concern and in particular with the Insurers who want to ensure that local councils are not allowed simply to wave through applications for new homes in flood areas.
Insurers also want reassurance that the governments cut of £150m to flood defence funding won’t put more homes in danger and that Government policies will reduce flood risk.
If reassurance, in both cases, can not be given then many will refuse to give cover or hike premiums to unaffordable levels.
Whilst development must be regulated, especially in flood plains the Government is under huge pressure to build new homes. By 2025 it is estimated that there will be a shortfall of 750,000 new homes.
The standoff could see those living in flood areas unable to get a new mortgage or home insurance, unable to move, or made to wipe tens of thousands of pounds off
Property protection Improvements for Cornwall residents
As Cornwall marks the one year anniversary of the devastating floods that hit the county last November, work is well underway to help reduce flood risk to properties in the affected communities through partnership working.
Grants totalling over £750,000 have been awarded to Cornwall Council to help householders protect their homes against future flooding incidents. £586,000 made available from the Environment Agency for individual property protection (IPP) measures and a further £4,250 per house for approximately 40 additional properties. IPP
where a traditional flood alleviation scheme is not economically viable, but where there is still a need for flood protection. A flood fair was staged in St Austell in June where flood protection product manufacturers from across the country attended. Officers were on hand from Cornwall Council, the Environment Agency, the National Flood Forum and South West Water to talk to hundreds of flood affected residents who came to see the property protection products available and find out how they could develop flood plans.
including door guards, airbrick covers, non-return valves and pumps are to be installed. Where necessary, further work such as re-pointing and/or rendering stonework will also be carried out. More than 180 properties will benefit from the work and all properties have all been assessed and the required works recommended by an independent suryeyor.
The scheme aims to provide flood resistance measures to properties in communities
Two Community Flood Recovery Groups and a Steering Group have been established, which will deal with issues of policy and the direction of resources and two community groups based on community network areas. Community-led Flood Plan Groups started work on writing community plans to deal with the immediate effects of a flood and have recruited dozens of flood wardens to help identify vulnerable people and manage local issues.
their property value if they want to move. Charles Tucker, chairman of the National Flood Forum, says: ‘People will become trapped, unable to move to a new job, unable to upsize as a family grows, unable to downsize when they want to retire.
‘The consequence for communities is blight and a downward spiral of desperation and deprivation.’ A deal has to be struck by June 2013, when the agreement which forces insurers to give cover expires. However, a number of floods that have devastated communities and cost insurers billions of pounds have forced a deadlock.
Campaigners believe that insurers are already hiking premiums with some flood victims reportedly seeing home insurance costs increase by as much as 500% in the past two years, according to charity the National Flood Forum. From July 2013, insurers will be allowed to select whom they cover. Some owners of properties in Workington, Cumbria, which flooded in 2009, have been quoted excesses for buildings cover of up to £10,000.
The maximum buildings insurance excess that many leading mortgage companies including Lloyds, Halifax and Santander, will allow is £1,000.
The town of Morpeth in Northumberland faced massive flooding in 2008, hitting 950 homes. Alan Bell, chairman of the Morpeth Flood Action Group, says many locals have been unable to sell their homes because they cannot get affordable home insurance. According to a survey by the group, buildings insurance premiums in the town have risen by an average of 72% in the past two years, while others are struggling to get cover.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says: ‘We are working closely with the insurance industry to ensure flood cover continues to be provided beyond 2013.’ But insurance insiders have told Money Mail talks are not ‘where they want them to be’. A spokesman from the Association of British Insurers says: ‘We want to continue to be able to make flood insurance widely available after 2013. But we need to see the Government implement a long-term strategy, which shows investment in flood defences is helping to reduce the risk in areas prone to flooding. ‘It’s vital the current Government proposals to reform the planning process do not lead to new developments in high flood-risk areas.’
HR Wallingford BSI Test Centre for flood protection products
HR Wallingford is approved by the British Standards Institution (BSI) as the national laboratory for certification of flood protection products under their Kitemark scheme. The test centre, run with support from the Envrionment Agency, can also be used to develop and refine product designs.
HR Wallingford (supported by the Environment Agency) set up test facilities for various flood protection products in accordance with BSI's PAS 1188.
Performance specifications have been developed by HR Wallingford in conjunction with BSI and testing is available for all parts of the PAS1188 (2009), including:
The types of product fall into one of the following categories:
• • • Products are tested in a purpose
Removable products for installation as barriers across building apertures, e.g. doors and airbricks Temporary, freestanding barriers which are assembled close to, but not in contact with, building(s) Property flood skirt systems
designed test rig at HR Wallingford and are subjected to a factory test to ensure product quality. In order to assess the effectiveness of these products during a flood, the facilities are used to independently test products in simulated flood conditions. As well as standing water, a product’s performance can be investigated under wave and current loads.
Many insurance companies are now starting to offer flood cover based on the actual level of risk. They will want to know what local flood protection measures have been put in place, and will take into account effective actions taken to protect homes and businesses. Appropriate actions may include the use of flood products bearing the Kitemark, where these reduce the flood risk affecting the properties.
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