We use cookies to improve this site and enable full functionality. You can change your cookie settings at any time using your browser. Our cookie policy.

Why is no-one talking about flooding?

Why is no-one talking about flooding? | Insurance Business UK

Why is no-one talking about flooding?

We are in the middle of the British summer holidays and the weather is typical – heatwaves, rain and everything in between. Yet for some parts of the country, they are not just seeing summer showers but deluges of water in the space of an hour or so. In this month alone, those living in some areas of London have found their homes flooded twice, with main roads becoming undriveable rivers at times. The Met issued yellow weather warnings in Scotland and trains were affected throughout the country. You would think this would make the national news, but flooding has been very under-reported of late while the focus is on larger, global issues.

Flooding is not a new peril, but the recent rains remind us that these unseasonable deluges are part of a bigger problem with our climate changing and becoming more unpredictable. The IPCC report published this month stated that the damage to our planet may even be irreversible. If we have to live with flooding becoming more frequent, then we need to prepare and adapt for it.

Making our homes more resilient to flooding is a good place to start. Most homes were built for a milder climate and normal amounts of rain. The majority of British buildings simply aren’t designed to cope with flooding. With the UK set to see about a 10% rise in annual average rainfall by 2100 and a rise in sea levels due to global warming, we need to adapt in the way that we build and protect our homes, businesses and infrastructure. Early awareness of both resistance and resilience measures could help better prepare a property for future floods. The CII New Generation Claims Group 2019-2020 created an interactive leaflet on flood resilience measures and how to apply for a flood resilience grant, to make this easier for those at risk of flooding.

In February 2020, the property flood resilience code of practice was launched, which states that flood resilience should have a tripartite approach: the government; insurance; and the customer. The code sets out standards and recommended precautionary measures, such as installing devices to prevent water from entering the property and fitting flood gates on doors and windows. There are also recommended precautions to help minimise damage caused, including moving plug sockets above the flood level and installing free-standing kitchen units on legs. The aim of the code is to help individuals and businesses understand the practical measures they can implement to mitigate the risk of flood damage.

For those who have had their home flooded, these measures may be too late; but we can help them get their homes ready for the future. It is not an easy subject to discuss with a distressed claimant who just wants their home dried out and liveable, but if we can build back better, it may help them in the long-run.

With flooding likely to increase, we must work together to help reduce the cost and complexity of flood damage. Installing flood resilience measures may increase the length of claims now, but in the long-term it reduces the pain for all.