Saturday 27 May 2017

Government must build better flood defences - Insurance Ireland

Head of general insurance at Insurance Ireland Michael Horan
Head of general insurance at Insurance Ireland Michael Horan

Insurance Ireland, the representative body of Ireland’s insurers, has said that the Government must build significant flood defences before it would agree to a new scheme to help those suffering from flood damage.

Yesterday the insurance industry warned that if a national levy was imposed to assist those without flood cover, all policyholders would witness an increase in their premiums.

Insurance Ireland’s non-life insurance manager, Michael Horan, told RTÉ that flooding problems have been caused by a lack of investment from Government.

"The flood problem has been caused by inadequate investment in flood defences over the years combined with development on flood plains.

"That has made it more difficult for insurance companies to provide insurance in areas of repeat flooding,” Mr Horan said.

Speaking on Wednesday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that it was time to be frank with insurance companies, who he says make ‘sizeable profits’ from Ireland.

“We need to have a very frank discussion with the insurance companies who make very sizable profits from Ireland about what this situation is and how it can be addressed. I hope we can do that in a clear fashion or at least commence it on Tuesday, or at least explain what the nature of the problem is," he said.

However, Mr Horan refuted the claims that insurers are making sizeable profits in Ireland.

"I don't agree that the industry makes profits. Property insurers lost €35m in 2014,” Mr Horan.

Insurance Ireland also dismissed claims by environment minister Alan Kelly that areas protected by flood defences can’t get flood insurance.

"The vast majority of people living in areas protected by flood defences can get flood insurance, 98% of homeowners have flood cover," said Mr Horan.

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