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Insurers reach flood cover deal

Government also commits to flood action plan

A flooded street with houses

Houses damaged by flooding

The insurance industry and the government have reached an agreement to ensure householders are able to obtain protection against flooding.

Insurers have pledged to continue providing protection to any property deemed to have a risk of less than one in 75 from flood.

They will also continue to offer flood cover to existing household and small business customers which are at a significant risk of flooding, provided there are plans to reduce that threat within five years.

On its side, the government has committed itself to a 25-year strategy to improve flood defences, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Planning system

The government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreed to ensure the planning system prevents inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding.

They will also work to raise awareness of flooding and to encourage property owners to take sensible precautions to avoid the risk and the impacts of floods on their homes.

Also included in the agreement are plans to improve understanding of flood risk and to promote access to home insurance for low-income households.

Of the 48,000 household affected by last year’s devastating floods some 4,700 were still not back in their homes a year on – and an estimated one in eight of those did not have insurance.

Low-income households

The deal on insurance will last until 2013, by which time it is expected the measures to reduce flood risk outlined today will be in effect.

Floods Minister Phil Woolas said: ‘The devastation caused by last year’s unprecedented rainfall has shown just how vital it is for people to be able to insure their homes and livelihoods against the risk of flooding.’

He said the deal ensured flooding insurance would be available in both the short and long term.

The government said it could not give a figure for the number of households at a higher flooding risk than one in 75.

Flood defences

A spokeswoman for Defra said: ‘It is for individual insurers to determine what they will and won’t provide cover for.’

She added: ‘It’s important to remember that even where defences are provided, flooding is still possible.’

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