North Devon MP takes flood insurance fight to Parliament
North Devon MP Nick Harvey has urged the Government to guarantee affordable insurance to small business owners and leaseholders in flood-hit areas.
Serious flooding in North Devon – for example, in Braunton in 2004 and 2012 – has meant many small business owners have faced either outright refusal from insurers to cover them, or the offer of cover with grossly high premiums and excesses.
Government and insurers have come to an agreement, known as Flood Re, which guarantees flood insurance is available and affordable. However the scheme, which comes into operation next year, excludes small businesses and leaseholders from those it will cover.
The MP said: “North Devon’s small businesses simply shouldn’t have to shoulder such unfairly expensive insurance premiums and excesses.
“At the moment some business owners on Caen Street in Braunton are being quoted excesses of £10,000 – if, indeed, they can find insurance cover at all. We must have a stand-alone agreement in addition to the Flood Re scheme that covers small businesses and leaseholders too: two key groups that will otherwise be left out in the cold with no guarantee at all.
“As we come into the winter months with the potential for more severe weather, this understandably a worrying time for local businesses struggling to find affordable insurance. Dan Rogerson visited Braunton earlier this year and was sympathetic to these issues. DEFRA have since said they will look at the evidence of this problem – which is a start – but I will continue to keep up the pressure for Government to act on these unjust and prohibitive costs until a solution is found.”
Campaigner and Braunton building owner Simon Tattersall said:
“The issue of flood insurance for small businesses is not just about damage to buildings or their contents, serious though this is.
“It is also about the potential loss of jobs for those employed, the ability for owners to be able to sell their business or buildings and – in some areas – the financial viability of an entire community. It is grossly unfair to underwrite the cost of flood insurance to parts of a community, but entirely exclude others. I am therefore pleased that Nick Harvey MP is raising this issue in Parliament.”
(from a press release)