Insurance companies should cover homes where remedial works completed – Costello

08 January 2016

The insurance companies can’t have it both ways. They won’t insure where they believe there are inadequate flood defences, and where adequate flood defences have been installed, they won’t insure either because there was flooding there in the past.

Parts of my constituency of Dublin Central were prone to flooding in the past. East Wall, North Strand, Clonliffe and Cabra were particularly vulnerable. The problems were identified and addressed. The funding was invested, and the remedial works were carried out on the Tolka River, the Royal Canal and the Liffey. Swales were constructed in Cabra, and water drainage was regularly checked and cleaned.

Nevertheless, insurance companies simply won’t include flooding on the insurance premium. Because certain areas in Dublin flooded in the past, they remain no-go areas for insurance companies. They totally disregard the flood defence works that have been carried out. They refused to do a risk assessment on the new set of circumstances. People selling their homes or buying a new home in Dublin 3 or parts of Dublin 7 in my constituency are treated like pariahs by the insurance companies.

Insurance Ireland says that this is no longer the case; that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the OPW, which obliges companies to take into account the remedial flood works carried out when quoting premiums for flood insurance. This may well be the case in theory. But in practice, insurance companies simply refuse flood cover.
It is time that the Government intervened and compelled the insurance industry through legislation if necessary to include flood insurance on all premiums where the local authority and the OPW can demonstrate the quantity and quality of the flood defence works that have been carried out.

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