UK annual flooding losses set to reach £1bn

The Environment Agency predicts in the next thirty years sea levels will rise by approximately 40cm. Without improvement in flood defences, this would increase the number of properties at significant risk of flooding in Eastern England by 48%. By 2040 the cost of a major coastal flooding event could reach £16bn.

Such high potential losses would place heavy strain on the insurance market – the Association of British Insurers calculates an increase in the cost of a single flooding event to £12bn would require 10% of the capacity of the global reinsurance market.

Richard Hinton, business development director of SearchFlow said: “The twin impacts of climate change and ongoing property development mean the danger of flood liability is growing rapidly. So great is the potential risk from rising sea levels and construction on the floodplain to accommodate a rising population, the UK’s flood liability could come to dominate the global reinsurance market. In practice, that would mean many in high risk areas would be unable to obtain insurance at all, which would significantly reduce the value of their properties and potentially could put homeonwners in breach of their mortgage agreements.

“Many property owners don’t realise the extent of the danger they face. It’s no longer safe to assume that historically low flood risk is an indicator of what to expect in the future. Particularly in coastal areas and parts of the UK which face significant risks of flood damage, it’s essential those purchasing property are fully aware not just of the risks they face today, but of those that will develop in the coming years”.

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