Friday, 21 February 2014

A flood of concern as consumers await news from insurance clear up summit

Flood Insurance
Since before Christmas the news has been following the victims of the floods on the Somerset levels as well as reporting on other areas of the UK. The rain may have stopped but the water is still destroying people’s homes and livelihoods, and it is not just water damage they have to contend with but raw sewage and bacteria that is contaminating many properties. 

The politicians have been meeting this week with the insurance industry this week in what has been touted as the “clear up summit”, but we’re pretty sure what will happen next – an increase in the insurance premiums of those unfortunate to be affected by the floods.

Seven years ago the people of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, woke up to a similar flood damage problem. In 2007 when floods left over 30,000 people homeless across the country, 10,500 of those homes were in Kingston upon Hull, which got around a sixth of its annual rain falling in 12 hours. The damage in Hull was caused by the surface water being unable to escape rather than the rivers bursting their banks and the drainage system was not able to cope. Insurers put the cost of the total damage bill at around £1 billion as about 400 billion tonnes of water fell in Yorkshire.

One flood victim still paying extra £500 per year for insurance premium

This week one of the victims of the 2007 Hull flood was interviewed on the Today programme on Radio 4 speaking about her experience and what happened afterwards. Her home sustained a lot of damage and the builders had to be called in and extensive repairs carried out, and her insurance premiums, went from around £400 per year up to £1200. Seven years later it is down to £900 per annum, which as she said, is difficult to find but she has no choice but to pay. She tried to move to other insurers but they wouldn’t take her on any cheaper, so her only choice was to stay with her original company.

She had no choice but to claim from her insurance company but there are times, and we have all been there, when we are faced with the decision to claim or not. It is a very tricky business because when you have paid in your premiums for all those years then you feel it is right to get some of that money back. On the other hand you are faced with the uncertain feeling of the premiums increasing following a claim and it could be cheaper in the long run to pay for the damage yourself.

Consumer choice is limited to one

In some cases we have no choice and we have to take out the insurance policy, but it does leave you feeling a little rankled when you get the next annual premium quote following a claim. There is a lot of talk about consumer choice and shopping around for the best price, but as the consumer from Hull found out, in reality you don’t have a choice and you are left up waterlogged creek without a paddle.

If you have had experience of exorbitant insurance premiums following a legitimate claim or are currently awaiting help following the recent flood damage, then not only are our thoughts and sympathy with you but we would like to hear of your experiences – contact us now – we’re listening!

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