On Boxing day 2015, flooding from the River Wharfe affected 43 businesses and 36 homes in Tadcaster. While many businesses were open again within a few days, some of them have since faced very large increases in flood insurance premiums. Others have found that flood insurance was simply not available. At least one business owner had asked as many as a dozen companies to quote for flood insurance and all of them had declined to quote, even though the business had only ever flooded once.
Nigel Adams MP recently met with Dr Therese Coffey, Flood Minister, to discuss problems now facing small businesses where flood insurance premiums and the associated excess had been increased by as much as ten times. Earlier in the year, a scheme had been introduced by FloodRe to enable homeowners to get flood insurance at affordable prices, but until recently no such scheme was available for small businesses.
In December, a new scheme for business insurance was launched by the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA). This was designed to go some way to addressing the problem of obtaining flood insurance. Having been told by several businesses in Tadcaster that they were still experiencing problems, Nigel met with the Flood Minister and asked for a review of the scheme and for further support for businesses facing unaffordable flood insurance.
Nigel said, “Some businesses renewed their insurance and paid a similar premium to previous years, others were asked to pay very large increases and in some cases their insurers refused to quote for continued flood insurance. Above all any scheme to address the issue needs to be consistent.”
Businesses that have renewed their flood insurance report a wide range of responses and the responses did not appear to be related to the extent of the damage caused in December 2015. Some had simply renewed their insurance at a similar price while other had been told they had to pay tenfold more than in previous years. Many had re-insured before the new scheme had been introduced.
Nigel said, “The new BIBA scheme is a step in the right direction but we now need to know how effective it is at helping businesses such as those in Tadcaster. If any business in the town is still facing problems with flood insurance, I would like to know about it. The Minister agreed to investigate the problem and I want ensure that she has as much information as possible.”
Nigel Adams has also met with representatives of BIBA to hear about the details of the scheme and also to discuss some individual cases.
He added, “This is a complex problem and I want to make sure that where a business has invested in their own flood protection this should be taken into consideration as part of the quotation that they receive. Many of the businesses in Tadcaster have used the £5000 flood Resilence and Repair Grants paid by the Government to increase their protection. This should be an important factor helping to reduce premiums.”