Westminster Council has called on UK government reinsurer Flood Re to be expanded due to its ‘restrictive criteria’ making it unavailable to private renters or properties with four flats or more.
As reported by London’s Evening Standard newspaper, the council says that the scheme is currently ‘insufficient’. It says that it was the borough most affected by flooding in 2021 and out of 2,100 weather-related flooding incidents in the UK capital, 253 of them were in Westminster—70 more than in any other borough.
Geoff Barraclough, council cabinet member for planning and economic development, made reference to the floods of July 2021.
He said: “The damage caused by the floods in July last year was heart-breaking. It destroyed many of our residents’ homes, ruined their life-long possessions and took a personal toll on so many people who were impacted.”
He added: “We need to do more to help residents in Westminster insure themselves against the risk of future flooding. The Government should urgently review Flood Re’s needlessly restrictive eligibility criteria so that the scheme can protect all of our residents.”
The Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which manages funding related to floods and flood defences, said to the Evening Standard that renters and landlords can get contents insurance through Flood Re when full home insurance policies are not available.
Landlords are unable to make use of Flood Re since landlord insurance is classified as a commercial business insurance, which is not available through the scheme.
Despite not offering coverage to private landlords, Flood Re has made some moves in recent months to helping alleviating the effects of flooding within the UK.
In April, it launched a scheme with the UK government called ‘Build Back Better’ to help those homes and areas affected by flooding.
Under its auspices, participating home insurers will begin offering customers access to reimbursement costs of up to £10,000, over and above work to repair damage and loss caused by a flood. The funds will pay for the installation of flood resilience measures that will reduce the impact of future flooding.
The April announcement came just under a year after Flood Re said that the industry needed to do more to help ensure flood resilience across the UK before 2039.