Sunday 22 January 2017

Flood insurance doubt for homes 500m from water

Charlie Weston and Kevin Doyle

Published 12/01/2016 | 02:30

The Taoiseach said he wants insurers to address 'the contradiction' between their claims that they are insuring homes where flood defences are put in place, and the stories he is hearing from people on the ground. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The Taoiseach said he wants insurers to address 'the contradiction' between their claims that they are insuring homes where flood defences are put in place, and the stories he is hearing from people on the ground. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Insurance companies are now scrutinising applications for cover for homes and businesses up to half a kilometre from water.

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Thousands of property owners are already being refused cover even though State-funded flood defences have been put in place, it has emerged.

The revelation comes as Taoiseach Enda Kenny calls six insurance companies to account at Government Buildings today.

The Taoiseach said he wants insurers to address "the contradiction" between their claims that they are insuring homes where flood defences are put in place, and the stories he is hearing from people on the ground. An estimated 50,000 property owners are unable to get cover, with most of this figure made up of homeowners, according to former president of the Irish Brokers Association Paul Kavanagh. Some of these live in areas where flood defences are in place.

But Mr Kavanagh also claimed insurers are now applying more stringent checks to applications located within 500m of water.

Towns like Fermoy and Mallow in Cork and Clonmel in Tipperary have had millions of euro spent on flood defences, but insurers will not cover properties in these areas.

Insurers argue the defences are the wrong ones, and say they will only provide cover where permanent and fixed defences are in place.

A spokesman for Insurance Ireland defended the stance of insurers in not covering properties in areas where removable flood barriers had been built.

Cover could only be provided where fixed flood defences are in place, he said.

Irish Independent

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