Cobra, the UK government’s crisis meeting committee, is meeting to discuss responses from the emergency services and insurance industry to the serious flooding event currently taking place in North West England.
Evacuations have taken place across Cumbria and schools and hospital services have been closed in parts of northern England as rivers broke their banks during Storm Desmond, the UK’s fourth named storm of 2015.
Thousands of homes in Cumbria were left without power at the weekend and the Army was called in to help evacuate people in the towns of Carlisle, Keswick and Appleby. Storm Desmond subsided on Sunday, but more persistent rainfall has been forecast later in the week.
The Government has been criticised after
The 2005 floods, when the highest rainfall (180.4mm) was recorded at Rydal Hall, Cumbria was estimated by the Met Office as likely to occur less often than once in 200 years.
The Met Office’s early provisional rainfall statistics indicate that during Storm Desmond many places saw totals widely over 180 to 200mm in the Lake District: “It is thought very locally event totals may be in excess of 300mm locally,” a UK Met Office blog said.
The insurance industry facility Flood Re came into force last month, meaning that up to half a million households in high flood risk areas like Cumbria should be able to purchase affordable flood insurance.
New legislation means the Government has now provided Flood Re with necessary powers that will enable insurers to offer affordable flood insurance to at-risk homeowners across the UK.
Operational from April 2016, the scheme will enable insurers to pass on to Flood Re the flood risk element of any home insurance policy.
Premiums will be capped at a level based on each property’s council tax band. Insurers will continue to set the premiums they charge to their customers for home insurance.
It’s likely that insurers will cede buildings, contents or combined home insurance policies to Flood Re relating to around 350,000 households.
The scheme is funded by an annual levy, Levy 1, that will be paid by all insurers authorised to write home insurance in the UK and is set at £180m per year for the first five years. This will be charged based on each insurer’s market share.