Crawford & Company UK’s rural property adjusters, ARIEL (Agriculture, Rural Industries & Estates Losses, have called for rules that govern payments for flood-resilient repairs to be simplified so everyone can benefit.
Speaking on the popular BBC Countryfile programme, Angus Stevens, client account director & technical head of ARIEL) at Crawford & Company UK guided reporter Tom Heap around the Somerset Levels, a region of South West England which was flooded during 2015, causing huge damage to properties in the area.
He explained how the UK insurance industry responded to the floods and about the subsequent profile that ‘flood resilient repairs’ have garnered as a result.
“I can understand the excitement there is around flood resilient repairs and there are some examples of it coming through,” said Angus. “There is also a ‘Repair and Renew grant funding system’ which was launched by the UK government in April 2014 which provides up to £5,000 to applicants.”
“However, there are a lot of hoops that homeowners have to jump through in order to receive funding. In fact, it’s so complex, many people give up on the idea because their priority is to get back into their home as quickly as possible.”
Angus admits that many homeowners have preferred not to adopt flood resilience measures, largely for aesthetic reasons.
“Some people don’t want plastic architraves (door frames) or power sockets positioned half way up their walls, and in many cases, flood resilient repairs can be costly so our job will continue to be one of helping people return their home to the state it was in before the event.”
Nevertheless, the arguments in favour of resilient repairs are strong and Angus says the insurance industry has begun to show an interest in working with government to make its grant funding work alongside the claims process.
“I have seen one or two examples of insurers agreeing to underwrite resilient repairs in exchange for a guarantee they will then receive the grant funding in return. It will take this kind of partnership to generate progress. At the moment, the system of applying for grants is far too complex and people do not really have the time or the inclination to take advantage of it.”