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2,000 York homes facing flood insurance woe
MORE than 2,000 York households could be left without insurance because of flooding risks unless a fresh deal is struck between insurers and the Government, insurance chiefs have warned.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has analysed the latest Environment Agency flood data against the 573 parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales to calculate the number of properties at significant risk of flooding.
It claims 1,657 properties in York Central have a greater than one in 75 chance of being flooded in any given year, and another 449 are in the same position in York Outer.
A further 762 are considered to be at such risk in Thirsk and Malton constituency.
The figures have been released only weeks after The Press revealed how insurance problems were looming for people living in York’s flood-risk areas, such as Clementhorpe.
The newspaper reported then how a national deal – agreed in 2000 to ensure high-risk homes could get flood insurance – was due to finish next year and the ABI was warning it would not be renewed.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was continuing to work with the industry to ensure flood insurance remained widely available.
The ABI reiterated yesterday that people could have problems in accessing competitively priced flood insurance after the floods agreement ran out.
It said: “Obviously we do not want this to happen, and that is why we are urging the Government to work with us on developing a long term sustainable market for flood insurance to help those at high risk.”
The association’s director general, Otto Thoresen, said: “We are running out of time to make sure that people in high-risk areas are properly protected from the devastation flooding can cause, and the ball is now in the Government’s court.”
York Central MP Hugh Bayley said the removal of insurance from flood risk households would be “entirely unacceptable”.
Flood risks have to be sorted out
WE revealed last month that householders in York whose homes are at risk of flooding may be unable to get home insurance unless a fresh deal is struck between insurers and the Government.
Only now, however, is the scale of the problem becoming apparent. More than 2,000 homes in York could be uninsurable unless a solution is found. And there could be hundreds more in Selby and the rest of North and East Yorkshire.
The problem has arisen because a national deal agreed by the Government and the insurance industry in 2000 to ensure even homes at a high risk of flooding can be insured ends in 2013.
The prospect of being left with an uninsurable home is appalling. Such homes may be almost impossible to sell and homeowners could be left having to pick up the repair bill every time their home is flooded.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) expects the Government to subsidise insurance cover for homes in areas at high risk of flooding. Time was running out, ABI director general Otto Thoreson said yesterday. “The ball is now in the Government’s court.”
As we have said before, we do not think the industry should be trying to shuffle the cost of high-risk insurance off on the Government in this way. Home insurance must be available and affordable for all.
But it is up to the industry to manage this, by balancing premiums. It should not expect the Government to step in and take away all the risk.
After all, insurance is a risky business. That has not, by and large, stopped the industry from doing very well out of it.