I was happy to receive guarantees in the reply I got from from Minister Noonan in response to my Parliamentary Question on Flood cover for homeowners, that there will be continuous meetings between the Office Public Works (OPW) and the Irish Insurance Federation so that Insurance companies will be aware of flood prevention work completed in an area and thus be in a better position to offer home insurance including flood risks to people who have been through the mill with regard trying to get house insurance when they are in a flood risk area – East Wall, North Strand, Ballybough, Glasnevin etc. Read the full answer below:
QUESTION NO: 209 by Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan for WRITTEN ANSWER on 21/10/2014
To ask the Minister for Finance the further discussions he has held with the Irish Insurance Federation following regarding the problems facing people who live in flood risk areas with regard to getting house insurance especially those people in areas where there has been significant flood prevention work carried out.
Reply by Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)
The provision of new flood cover or the renewal of existing flood cover is a commercial matter for insurance companies, which is based on a proper assessment of the risks they are accepting and the need to make adequate provisioning to meet these risks. As a matter of course, insurance companies carry out reviews of the risks they are prepared to insure against and sometimes make decisions to discontinue certain types of cover which they consider high risk. Insurance Ireland has indicated that 98% of policyholders have household insurance which includes flood cover.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) and Insurance Ireland have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding on a sustainable system of information sharing in relation to completed flood alleviation schemes. The outcome of this arrangement is that the insurance industry will have a much greater level of information and understanding of the extent of the protection provided by completed OPW flood defence works and will therefore be able to reflect this in assessing the provision of flood insurance to householders in areas where works have been completed.
My Department has asked Insurance Ireland when they will be in a position to provide hard information which will demonstrate that the Memorandum of Understanding agreed by Insurance Ireland and the OPW has led to an increase in the availablity and reduction of cost of insurance in the twelve areas where the OPW has provided the insurance industry with information on completed flood alleviation schemes. I am informed by the OPW that the Minister for State met with Insurance Ireland on 2nd October and again requested that they provide information on the extent to which the data provided by OPW is being utilised by insurance companies, and the impact this is having on the availability of cover. Insurance Ireland have indicated that they are gathering data on this subject and will have information available in the coming months. The OPW and Insurance Ireland have also agreed to resume regular meetings of the joint OPW/Insurance Ireland Flood Working Group. The OPW is continuing its work on developing data on completed flood relief schemes in the format required by Insurance Ireland. It is expected that a further batch of data will be provided to Insurance Ireland before the end of the year.