Insurance against flooding should be fairer, says Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers
MARTIN Vickers is putting pressure on insurance companies for “fairness” as desperate homeowners continue to struggle to get cover against flooding.
The Conservative MP Martin Vickers will meet with the Environment Agency this Friday to discuss the issue and is waiting for a response from the Association for British Insurers.
As reported, many homeowners in Cleethorpes are either struggling to get home insurance or are paying “extortionate” amounts because the Environment Agency deem the majority of homes “at risk” of flooding.
They are worried because an agreement between the government and the ABI which states flood insurance must be available on the open market expires in 2013.
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Those living in the Haverstoe Ward are being particularly affected, despite the area not being flooded in 60 years.
Mr Vickers said: “I have spoken to the ABI and written to them and I am now awaiting a reply. I raised with them the points about the difficulties of insurance, particularly because of our location and reiterated the points raised about the unfairness of it.
“The whole point of insurance is about sharing the risk rather than putting it all on the most vulnerable. It is not like car insurance where if you pay a high premium it is a case of you having a bad record, this is particularly arbitrary.”
In the UK, flood insurance is an integral part of home insurance and widely available on the open market, while in other countries, flood cover for those at most risk can only be provided with some form of government support.
In 2000, it was determined the risk of flood across the UK was rising, so insurers agreed with the government to continue to offer flood insurance, provided the government improves flood defences.
That was a short-term agreement and comes to an end in 2013.
The ABI is currently “in discussions” with central government over home insurance for flood risk areas but residents fear if the government does not agree to help the insurance companies it will become even more difficult for them to get cover.
As reported, one resident, Kath Heyward, of Daggatt Road, claims to have rung 41 separate companies only to be refused “point blank” by 16 of them. Another, anonymous resident was refused coverage a staggering 18 times before a company agreed to insure her.
Councillor Margaret Cracknell (Cons, Haverstoe) said: “If they do not reach an agreement it may make it even more difficult for our residents to get cover. It is so important we get the message from our MP to the ABI, the government and the Environment Agency that this is happening and it isn’t fair.”
The Environment Agency do not comment on home insurance policy but their website states that they do assist the government in their work with ABI. They do this by informing the ABI which homes are at risk of flooding which leads to them making an assessment on the “likelihood” of flooding.
ABI spokesperson Sarah Bailey said: “Insurers are determined flood insurance remains available and affordable and we are currently in constructive discussions with the government to explore how we can achieve this.”
Haverstoe Community Forum, which first raised the issue of home insurance to Mr Vickers, will meet today at Signhills Junior School from 7pm.