Flood Risk Debate: Is the UK prepared for the consequences?

Flood Risk Debate: Is the UK prepared for the consequences?

Global legal practice Squire Sanders, Real Estate Flood specialist Floodline Developments and Oval jointly hosted a debate on 7th February 2013 to address the key areas of discussion including Government policy, the insurers’ position, the financial reaction, private development propositions and legal implications.

The current agreement covering flood insurance between the insurance industry, the government and over 5 million private households at risk expires in June 2013.  As no way forward has been agreed to date, the jointly-held debate incorporated expert contributions from the Environment Agency, the Association of British Insurers, Barclays and regeneration specialist developer St Modwen.

The attendees enjoyed a rare opportunity to hear first-hand the problems facing each sector and with the introduction of surface water flooding maps, next year, this is only going to make the current predicament more difficult.  Joint plans and innovative sustainable solutions were also discussed and demonstrated to enable private industry to work in partnership with the Public Sector to mitigate flood risk. 

Effective action is essential to encourage investment and appropriate development, to enable continued affordable insurance cover and avoid any potential legal issues. Whilst the insurance industry works hard to find a solution in continuing to provide flood cover, practical approaches are necessary to provide long term solutions. 

Moderator Sue Highmore of PLC Property warned against complacency and advised the need to seek good expert advice whether it be from a legal, insurance or development perspective. Know your flood risk and be aware of the potential impact this may have on your business and the options available to you to mitigate that risk.

The debate concluded by highlighting a number of recommendations for businesses to ensure they take a thorough approach to risk management:

  • Don’t wait for ABI–Government consensus. If you are investing, make sure you spot potential flood risks before you commit.
  • Identify acceptable risk
  • Be informed: investigate the main flood categories, know which ones might affect your portfolio, and understand the likely frequency and depth of flooding.
  • Seek expert advice
  • Due diligence: Always look beyond available Environment Agency information.

We will shortly be releasing a bulletin covering the subject in more detail.

Head of Oval Property Investors