Basic flood protection 'missing in high risk areas’

Hundreds of thousands of householders in flood risk areas do not have basic protection against rising waters installed, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned.

The ABI has claims that buildings guarded by flood defences should have flood-proof doors in case embankments are over-topped, and has questioned homeowners who have not taken responsibility for their own property.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the government to flood-proof properties, but only if they have already been flooded before.

In an ongoing debate over the responsibility of flooding, the insurance association has been publicly criticised for failing to protect inundated properties by the Environment Agency, who, in turn, are in the firing line of councils who want control over flood spending from the government.

A recent, unpublicised report from the Environment Agency has accused insurers of failing to prepare for the increased threat of flooding and failing to ensure that properties are resistant or resilient to future floods.

Emma Howard Boyd, who chairs the agency, says: "There is a disconnect between insurance reinstatement and resilient repair of property.

"Loss adjustors and builders do not understand the benefits of resilient measures. It is not clear that the insurance industry value property-level resilience or incentivising people to have it."

The ABI has levelled the criticism as ‘unfair’.