Flood risk symbols prove controversial

The three ‘flood risk’ symbols proposed by the insurance industry for estate agents to detail on their properties have proved controversial.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggested traffic light symbols in red, amber and green, to warn buyers about the flood dangers, in an attempt to prompt buyers to investigate flood risks properly.

The group claim that house-hunters are more likely to ask about parking provision than flooding.

James Dalton, director of general insurance at the ABI, said: "As the floods of last winter reminded us, being flooded is horribly traumatic and can leave people out of their home or business for months.

"Anyone whose property is at flood risk needs to be aware of that, so they can take steps to protect themselves."

However, estate agents say they are unlikely to take up the idea as it would stop buyers even looking at a property, and consequently block sales.

Current Consumer Protection Regulations require estate agents to inform buyers of any material concerns about a property, which includes the risk of flooding.

Mark Hayward, the managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, commented: “If you see a red, you wouldn't bother to look at it. You'd say, I'm not going to visit. It would be a pointless and fruitless exercise, and make a huge proportion of homes unsalable and unmortgageable."