Government launches consultation on changes to Flood Re

flooding

The government has launched a consultation on changes to Flood Re, which would permit the industry pool to discount premiums on properties where flood resilience measures have been fitted and supplement claims payments to enable homeowners to ‘build back better.’

The proposals seek to incentivise more flood-resilient repairs and the installation of things like airbrick covers and non-return valves, and were first proposed in 2019 by Flood Re in its first quinquennial review.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs later signalled it would consult on the changes as it unveiled £5.2bn of funding for a raft of flood initiatives in July last year.

The consultation, which closes on 26 April, will also explore whether the cheapest Flood Re premiums ought to be lowered further – a recommendation picked up from the independent review into the November 2019 floods in Doncaster led by Amanda Blanc.

Blanc’s review found there was a dearth of flood cover on properties eligible for Flood Re support and questioned whether the subsidised £52 contents-only premium – the cheapest currently on offer – may still be too high for low-income households.

Flood Re welcomed Defra’s announcement, saying that the changes to the scheme would “ultimately assist in its transition out of the market by 2039.”

Andy Bord, CEO of Flood Re, said: “The changes proposed should help build a more resilient housing stock by increasing the uptake of property flood resilience adaptations and address the increasing threat of flooding resulting from climate change.

“I encourage all relevant parties to join us in contributing to the consultation and hope that the proposals get the strong support we expect for the benefit of flood-prone communities across the UK.”

The Association of British Insurers also welcomed the consultation. An ABI spokesperson said: “Insurers are at the forefront of helping people recover from the trauma and destruction of flooding, from making emergency payments, arranging temporary alternative accommodation to organising the drying out and repairs.

“As part of this process, many insurers already work closely with their policyholders on flood resilience measures that can help reduce the flood risk.

“An adequate, sustained and targeted flood defence investment programme, including maintenance of existing defences, is essential in ensuring our flood risk communities get the protection they deserve.

“We will be studying these proposals carefully and feeding back into the consultation, in order that we are best placed to minimise and manage the flood threat.”

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