Insurers have seen flood claims triple during the past decade following a rise in severe weather, a trade body has said.
Payouts to customers whose homes or businesses have been hit by flooding have totalled £4.5 billion since 2000 – a 200% increase on the £1.5 billion paid out during the previous decade in real terms, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The increase has been driven by a rise in both the frequency and severity of flooding in the UK, as well as the growing problem of
Major floods during the past decade have included flooding during the summer of 2007, which cost the insurance industry £3 billion, as well as the 2005 floods in Carlisle and last year’s problems in Cumbria, which cost £272 million and £174 million respectively.
Around 5.2 million homes in England are currently at risk of flooding, 2.8 million of which are at risk from flooding due to surface water, according to the Environment Agency.
Nearly 500,000 people face a significant flood risk and the ABI warned this figure could rise to 840,000 by 2035 without adequate investment in flood defences.
Overall, it is estimated that the total value of assets under flood risk is more than £200 billion.
The group is calling on the Government to ensure that spending on flood defences is targeted at the most vulnerable communities.
Speaking at the ABI’s Fighting Flood Risk Together conference, chairman Tim Breedon said: “Flooding devastates lives and communities. Insurers play a key role in helping those affected recover, but prevention must be better than cure.”
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Dealing with floods is a priority for Defra and we will be spending more than £2.1 billion over the next four years to bring better protection to those at risk.”