Friday, February 22 11:00:35
Up to 50,000 homes and business premises are at risk of being unable to get insurance for flood damage, even though many of these properties are not even prone to flooding, according to a study from the Irish Brokers Association.
It is leaving thousands of frustrated owners without proper protection as they are left with no cover whatsoever, or at best, a policy with a flood cover exclusion. The estimate was arrived at after analysing and collating data from insurers, the IIF and the IBA's own members.
The Irish Brokers Association is calling for better planning and liaison among insurance companies ahead of an (new) EU directive requiring countries to have proper flood plan protection in place by 2015.
"The system of a mapping service called "geo-coding" by insurers is the main culprit, particularly when properties are in a location within the geo-coded land but where the chances of flooding are extremely remote. Brokers have been successful in procuring cover for members by accessing expert advice and land surveys in these areas, but significant challenges remain. It is impossible to get flood cover in any area which has had recurrent flood problems. The most brokers have been able to achieve is policy cover excluding flood," said Brian McNelis, Director of General Services, Irish Brokers Association.
"Geo-coding, although handy for insurance companies, is not always accurate and can leave vast swathes of townlands uninsurable, despite no history of flooding in the area. It can also ignore remedial works which have been put in place by local authorities rendering the area far less flood prone".
He called on insurers to ensure that where remedial work has taken place to an agreed standard, that the ban on providing cover be lifted.
There have been 8 serious flood events in the past 12 years costing insurers billions.