Insurance body calls for more spending on flood defences

 

THE CHIEF executive of the Irish Insurance Federation has warned that current levels of investment in and implementation of flood defences may result in more properties becoming uninsurable.

In a letter to Clare County Council, Michael Kemp also said the Department of the Environment should withdraw planning permission already granted to builders for developments in flood-prone areas.

Mr Kemp wrote that between 2000 and 2009, there had been six major floods, costing about €516 million in flood claims.

“In contrast, the total expenditure by the Office of Public Works on flood relief capital works in the same 10 year period was approximately €188 million.

“Our members are concerned at the low level of investment in flood relief capital works, the slow pace of implementation of these works, and the lack of action in relation to non-structural measures.”

The letter is due to be discussed at next Monday’s adjourned meeting of the council.

Mr Kemp wrote: “The insurance industry wants to continue to offer affordable insurance to as many people as possible. Minimising the financial impact of the cost of floods on property owners is critical to the sustainable provision of insurance.” The insurance federation “wish to achieve a way forward whereby a national programme of preventative actions minimises the risk of flooding and allows insurers to continue to provide flood cover against a risk rather than certainty of flooding”, he added.

“Current levels of investment and implementation of flood defences may result in more properties becoming uninsurable.

“This is something all parties wish to avoid and why more investment in and speedier implementation of remedial measures is vital.”

The federation was also calling on the OPW to implement an emergency response programme.