Why finding new ways to tackle flooding is so important for the insurance industry

7th February 2020

The potential for flooding claims is on the rise now that we’re facing the potential wrath of innocently named Storm Ciara. According to reports, Ciara is set to be the worst to hit the UK since 2013. The Met Office has deemed the weather system serious enough to issue a “danger to life” severe weather warning.

We’ll be facing extreme weather which includes winds of 60mph – and even up to 80mph in some areas - across the whole country from Sunday. It’s expected that the heavy rain will cause flooding to homes and businesses, especially in the north of England and Wales.

It’s not the only storm to have caused havoc in the UK. Last year we had storms and flash flooding while in 2018 around the same time as this year Britain and Ireland suffered a cold wave in the form of the Beast from the East.  

But it’s not like the UK and the insurance industry is not being proactive about it. The government spends about £1.1 billion a year on flood defenses. And every year the insurance industry arms its customers with advice and information about how to prevent flooding in the home.

But even this is not enough. Overall, flooding and the management of it costs the UK a whopping £2.2 billion each year. The Environment Agency has warned before that some communities may need to move away from coats as a result of flooding caused by climate change.

Last week we wrote about how the insurance industry is embracing technology to prevent the escape of water (EOW) claims.

This week we’re looking at the extent to which some technology is being or could be used to prevent flooding:

A new testing ground

The UKCRIC National Green Infrastructure Facility in Newcastle will allow engineers from Newcastle University to test the performance of new technologies that can slow the flow of water in the event of extreme rainfall and reduce the risk of flooding in cities. These include green roofs and rain gardens with a full-scale swale designed to hold back floodwaters.

Portable water barriers

These have been developed by a company called MegaScur. It’s simple to use as it can be installed in a couple of minutes and doesn’t need to be filled with air or heavy machinery to operate it. It’s made from strong PVC-coated polyester fabric and can apparently last for up to 25 years.

FloodFrame

From portable to permanent barrier tech that acts as a defense system. FloodFrame is a flood prevention installation that is fitted around the house and activates automatically when the water approaches it and rises. No electricity is needed and will be activated without the need of human intervention. It’s currently available in the US, the UK and Denmark.  

A race against time

Various methods are being tested and used but they’re not installed nationwide. But if more homes are to be protected a permanent solution may soon have to be found.

At the moment, Flood Re is offering those in flood-prone areas some financial protection as the re-insurance scheme makes flood cover more widely available and affordable as part of home insurance.

But Flood Re will only be in place until 2039. It is at this point that it says a free market for flood risk will commence. By then, hopefully, the insurance industry should have enough tools and technology at its disposal to offer affordable cover for its customers. Or if it doesn’t it may have to shoulder the cost of this.

Image by Jerry Coli from Pixabay 

 

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