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"Politics is all about people. As a Central Scotland MSP it is both a pleasure and a privilege to meet and become involved with a hugely diverse number of people and organisations"

Margaret Mitchell
 

Assoc. of British Insurers

21/12/17 2:30 PM

Don’t get caught out by festive flooding: Insurers stand ready throughout the Christmas period
People living and working in flood risk areas are being reassured that insurers will be ready to respond to any flooding that takes place during the Christmas period.
It is only two years since storms Desmond, Eva and Frank struck in quick succession throughout December 2015, with much of the worst damage happening on Boxing Day. Insurers spent £1.3 billion repairing and replacing customers’ flooded homes, businesses, vehicles and belongings damaged by the three storms.
With 1 in 6 properties in England and Wales being at risk of flooding, and 1 in 22 homes in Scotland, it remains crucial that people monitor weather warnings and flood advice throughout the Christmas period and ensure they have plans in place for how they can keep themselves and their properties safe if a flood is expected.
Insurers’ own preparations are reviewed after every severe incident. The industry’s flood response plans include:
• Around 2,750 staff available to handle calls about claims, with emergency phonelines available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
• Another 2,250 staff available to send in on the ground to support customers, assess damage and initiate repairs
• Tens of thousands of drying machines and other vital equipment on standby to be sent to affected areas and start the work of drying out premises as quickly as possible
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• Contracts with hotels and letting agents to ensure emergency accommodation can be provided at short notice, ahead of more long-term alternative accommodation being found where needed
• Millions of pounds ready for emergency payments to keep businesses going in the first few weeks after a flood and to ensure families affected have immediate access to funds for essentials such as clothes and food
Laura Hughes, Senior Policy Adviser for property insurance at the ABI, said:
“Sadly the weather cannot be relied upon to respect festive traditions. As hundreds of people found out over the festive period in 2015, severe flooding can happen at any time of year and if it happens during the holidays, empty homes and businesses can be left even more vulnerable to damage.
“Insurers have thousands of staff ready to respond to floods whenever they happen, 365 days a year. As you are getting ready for Christmas this year – don’t forget to make sure your flood preparations are also all wrapped up.”
Advice on preparing for a flood is here.
The ABI recently published a new Buildings Blueprint – setting out its priorities for how to reduce risks to properties. On flooding, this involves:
• Protecting communities by spending more on building and maintaining flood defences
• Protecting homes and businesses by increasing the use of flood resilience measures within properties
• Preventing increased flood risk by including sustainable drainage systems in all new developments
• Increasing understanding of flood risk by giving house hunters up-front information
• Improving planning processes to ensure no inappropriate developments are built in high flood risk areas

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