Flood insurance: Minister to meet All Party Group tomorrow

Richard Benyon

Floods minister Richard Benyon (pictured) will be meeting the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance & Financial Services tomorrow (Tuesday, 21 May) to update MPs on the discussions between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the insurance industry on flood insurance.

With the ten year old Statement of Principles due to expire in just five weeks the possibility of a free market leaving many people without access to affordable flood insurance after 1 July creeps closer to reality.

The meeting will take place in Committee Room 20, House of Commons, starting at 5pm with the Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers Association giving their views on the current position before Mr Benyon takes the floor at 5.30pm. The meeting is open to the public but accommodation might be limited.

Fears over access to insurance after 1 July have also been debated in a three hour session in the Scottish Parliament. This debate was prompted by a petition organised by Professor David Crichton, a climate change expert and former adviser to the ABI on the issue. It was more critical of the insurance industry than recent debates on the issue at Westminster, especially because many members felt the industry was asking to UK government to write an open-ended cheque to underwrite the industry's preferred Flood Re option. Others picked up one of Prof Crichton's familiar themes - the reluctance of insurance companies to fund flood-resiliant repairs and reinstatement.

There were also pleas for the lower vulnerability of homes in Scotland to flooding to be taken into account with members quoting statistics that suggest 4.5% of homes in Scotalnd are vulnerable compared to 23% in England.

It all adds to the pressure on the insurance industry and the government to find a deal that doesn't cast up to 250,000 households adrift without insurance in a few weeks time.

Will tomorrow bring any answers? I'm skeptical.

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