Government opposes Fianna Fáil's flood insurance bill

The Bill would require insurance companies to offer cover to homes and businesses at risk of flooding

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The Government has blocked a Fianna Fáil-proposed flood insurance bill, saying it creates an exchequer risk.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath told the Dáil on Tuesday night the Bill would make it unlawful for an insurance company to discriminate against people and business in areas which now had a low probability of flooding.

“It is not acceptable that insurance companies continue to deprive households and businesses flood insurance cover when a flood relief scheme has been put in place,” added Mr McGrath.

The Bill would require insurance companies to offer cover to homes and businesses at risk of flooding.

It would also make it compulsory to offer insurance to areas with a one in 100 year flood risk, as determined by the OPW, as well as bringing in an appeals process and giving the Financial Services Ombudsman the power to direct insurers to offer cover at a price set by them.

Labour TD Seán Sherlock said at an event yesterday that there is "no logical reason" for insurers not to cover people in areas where flood defences now exist.

In January, the insurance sector ruled out blanket national flood insurance. 89% of policies in areas with fixed flood defences include flood cover compared to 78% of policies in areas with demountable defences.

“It is not possible to achieve a 100% rate of flood insurance cover nationally for the reasons outlined,” Insurance Ireland's statement concluded.

Last year, the then-Minister for State Simon Harris announced details of a €430 million, 6-year programme for flood defense in Ireland.

Minister Harris stated at the time: "This country faces an enormous challenge in the years ahead in addressing the risk of flooding which continues to threaten many towns, villages and communities throughout the country."