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Lewes Forum thread

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Lewes floodplain houses may become uninsurable

On 23 May 2012 at 11:37am Under Water wrote:
Currently there is a voluntary program in place by insurers to provide insurance against damage by flood at a reasonable cost, such cost balanced by premiums charged to houses that are not at risk.
This program ends in 2013, and after that insurers will have the option as to whether they cover houses or not. And if they choose too, it is highly likely that insurance premiums will rise drastically - and if there is another major incident such as the one in 2000, then rises will accelerate to the point where insuring houses on the floodplain in Lewes is impossibly expensive for the people who live there.
Those paying relatively low premiums now can expect them to rise at a rapid rate from 2013 onwards.
Caroline Spelman, the minister for the Environment, has stated that this is unacceptable, but has not proposed any legislation to change the situation.
People who live on the flood plain should be absolutely clear that this is happening, and ensure our MP does his best to lobby for the ABI voluntary program to become legislation.
On 23 May 2012 at 1:40pm brixtonbelle wrote:
our insurance premium rose by a third this year, because of this very issue. We couldn't find insurance with anyone else, I would be interetsed to know of any insurance companies who do insure flood plain properties at the moment. (we are with a small firm underwritten by legal and genral)
On 23 May 2012 at 3:43pm Feline wrote:
We're insured with Nationwide (our mortgage is with them as well). Before that we were insured by Liverpool Victoria. Haven't experienced the huge increase yet....
On 23 May 2012 at 3:45pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
If that happens, can those not in the floodplain expect their premiums to fall as they will no longer be subsidising insurance for for the propeprties at risk?
On 23 May 2012 at 4:05pm Southover Queen wrote:
I think it's much more likely that the insurance companies will pocket the difference, ACT. The whole point of these online quote sites is to cherry pick the low risk customers and exclude anything which is likely to lead to a claim. The last government brokered a deal which this lot seem to have been unable to rearrange, which is a pity, because it's going to be increasingly difficult for anyone who is labelled high risk to get insurance I think.

It is worth shopping around and it's worth doing your homework. A friend of mine moved into the Cliffe and initially was refused insurance, or quoted absurd sums, because they were going on her postcode. However it turned out that her particular house barely flooded at all in 2000 and that the Environment Agency put the current risk of flooding of her property at around 1% - so tiny, basically. They put it in writing and bingo: reasonably priced insurance.
On 23 May 2012 at 4:45pm Under Water wrote:
This is not about a problem we have now. The situation now is much more favourable than what the situation will be from 2013 and beyond. There are a few firms that offer competitive and bespoke flood insurance, such as Home Protect and Liverpool & Victoria, but they are all acting under the voluntary program that ends this year.
However difficult it is now, it is going to get much, much more difficult to find affordable insurance - potentially impossible. And even if you have been living in Cliffe/Pells for years without a claim, your prices WILL go up substantially over the next few years. And another flood (which ultimately is inevitable) will rocket those prices even further.
The only thing that will change this is legislation. Otherwise many properties in Lewes will become uninsurable and thus unsellable.
On 23 May 2012 at 7:35pm No Pot Pourri wrote:
Liverpool Victoria are among the few that have been willing to cover these risk for a number of years without increased premiums. I know of lots of individuals and firms that made lots of money in the 2000 Lewes floods, all at the expense of the insurers. Don't be surprised that this may come back to haunt us.
Also, just because you don't live on the flood plain, don't imagine that the death of the heart of the town will not impact on where you are.
On 23 May 2012 at 10:06pm ADT wrote:
We are in the flood risk area, insured with Halifax, and they seem reasonable. Don't like this story though.
On 23 May 2012 at 10:36pm Realist wrote:
Think there's a bit of scare-mongering nonsense being spouted here. For instance, a 1% chance of flooding is high, not low; insurers use ever-increasingly complex data to rate risks (albeit not necessarily the DIY internet sites) rather than just lumping everyone in one postcode together.
One should never forget that water finds it's own level, so if a house has flooded before it'll probably flood again. And that is why it was the price that it was.
On 23 May 2012 at 10:58pm BN7 1 Resident wrote:
If you still live in the same house that flooded then you have my deepest sympathy. If, however, you bought a house that you knew had flooded, well, you've been a bit silly then. Stop moaning and expecting the rest of us to subsidize your premiums.
On 23 May 2012 at 11:13pm Southover Queen wrote:
That, if I may say so, is a spectacularly short-sighted response, Resident. By their very natures many towns are built around river crossings, which means that a large proportion of town centres across the country are vulnerable to flooding. If we want the fabric of society as reflected through ancient town centres to survive then we need to think of a slightly more imaginative strategy than "I'm all right Jack, so you can go hang".

Think of it another way: if they hadn't built executive homes all over the flood plains then the problem would be nothing like as acute. So actually the poor wretches down in South Street paying thousands every years for insurance are actually subsidising the likes of Barratt Homes...

A big part of the problem is how easy it now is for insurers to cherry pick their clients. The whole point of insurance is to spread the risk between a large number so no-one suffers: at the moment we seem to be going in the wrong direction.
On 23 May 2012 at 11:15pm IMEYOU wrote:
Answer is "Simples" . Dont buy a house on the floodplain, a floodplain is just that, an escape route for the river.
On 24 May 2012 at 10:29am someone else wrote:
Can I ask a couple of questions of floodplain residents, out of curiosity?

- Is it possible to get an insurance policy which covers all risks except flooding?

- Do any insurers offer reduced cost policies if you build flood defence measures into your house?

For what it's worth, I'd look at moving into the floodplain like this: a house which costs £350k in a higher part of town might cost £300k on South Street. Assume a non-insured flood might cost you £15-£25k, that gives you two or three floods before you've lost out. I realise I'm being simplistic and ignoring resale, but it's not such a bad deal.
On 24 May 2012 at 12:58pm brixtonbelle wrote:
You are joking - there is no discount in house prices in Lewes for being in flood plain - that may have been the case years ago, but certainly isn't now ! L and V previously insured our house, but decided not to renew two years ago because of the uncertainty over government policy. Also bear in mind that many of the houses in Cliffe and Pells and Southover are listed or in conservation area, which also increases premiums.

Some insurance companies apparently will not count flooding as a risk if its ten years past the previous flood.

But what I'm wondering is what do you do if you can't find any insurance company to insure against flood risk - do you just have a policy without flood risk - is that possible ?
On 24 May 2012 at 1:47pm Kettle wrote:
You can for other risks, so it should be possible. Try filling in the on line forms saying that you live in a flood risk area. They may come back with a quote for everything except flood risk.
On 24 May 2012 at 6:31pm Owen Boswarva wrote:
The original poster has misunderstood the existing agreement between insurers and the Government (the Statement of Principles on the Provision of Flood Insurance). It will end in 2013, but it is only an agreement to continue offering flood cover to previously insured policyholders. It doesn't apply to new business and does not affect the premium that the insurer quotes.
This idea that there will be a big increase in premiums after 2013 for people in high-flood areas is over-stated. The more likely effect is that insurers who are over-exposed in certain geographic locations will decline to renew some of their policies, and those householders will have to find a new insurance provider. Effectively there will be a period during which exposure to flood losses is redistributed within the insurance market.
As at the moment, a relatively small number of UK householders will have difficulty getting flood insurance at an affordable price -- this is the subject of discussions between the Government and insurers. However most people should be able to find cover if they shop around enough. If you live in a high-risk area it's best to try niche insurers or high-street brokers rather than online aggregator sites.
On 24 May 2012 at 8:21pm Under Water wrote:
Thanks Owen. But the economic reality is that more and more insurers will decline to take on the insurance risk. I know of two such insurers - niche - who now refuse to insure Cliffe properties where previously they did. Premiums will indeed rise as fewer companies opt to take the risk.
On 28 May 2012 at 2:13pm Clifford wrote:
And whatever new development there is on the Phoenix?
On 12 Jun 2012 at 11:17am neil cook wrote:
i have helped people in lewes and other regions get flood at affordable premiums email for info

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