Flood-hit Families Face €27k Damages, Says AA

AA Home Insurance data shows that the storms of last winter affected over 700 households and cost approximately €20 million. The average size of an insurance claim for damage was €27,000.

The insured loss to businesses was a further €30 million, and the damage to infrastructure may ultimately exceed €120 million when all repairs are carried out.

“The losses to the insurance industry are eventually going to be passed on to ordinary home-owners,” says Brendan Nevin, CEO at the AA. “Once again we are all going to pay for a problem that was caused in the first instance by bad planning and bad governance. We cannot control bad weather but we can stop building on flood plains and we can invest in flood defences. This has got to be a meaningful priority for the incoming government.”

The AA believes that four key actions are required to address the issue long term. Firstly, there needs to be an outright ban on building on flood plains; it is still possible to do so under existing law.

Secondly, there needs to be the same commitment to building flood defences as there has been previously to building roads. The current loose commitment envisages spending €430 million over the next 5 years, which is unlikely to be enough as flood events become more frequent.

The AA also emphasises that more work needs to be done on precise local mapping so that areas currently classified as uninsurable become understood accurately down to street level. The number of permanently uninsurable homes that remain would then be significantly reduced.

“We all agree that the innocent victims who are stuck in houses at permanent risk of flooding cannot simply be abandoned,” says Brendan. “They have to be supported. But if we can get that down to a smaller number then we can put in place a supportive scheme like that in use in the UK where in effect insurance is subsidised. You can’t do that when the problem is enormous and is being allowed to get worse, but you may be able to do it when investments have been made.”

AA Home Insurance believes that the flooding issue will need to be an immediate priority for the incoming administration and will be actively lobbying to ensure that it is.

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