Flood Re believes the role of insurance is changing as it urges insurers to ‘build back better’

Flood Re has released a 15-minute documentary, compiled by government and industry-backed scheme Flood Re, designed to highlight the importance and potential future impact of Flood Re’s ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) initiative, which it will formally launch on 20 April 2022.

The BBB scheme, which Flood Re started working on back in 2019, will see the cross-subsidy centred organisation team up with partner insurers to offer claimants £10,000 to repair flood damaged properties resiliently.

This could include, for example, using concrete and tile flooring rather than carpets, moving plug sockets higher up walls and installing non-return valves on pipes or air brick covers.

Growing need for risk mitigation

A key point raised within Flood Re’s documentary was the need for insurers to undergo a “cultural change” and embrace “radical collaboration” in order to improve flood resilience.

The film explained that currently, insurers focused on repairing flood-hit homes and businesses so that they were returned to the same state they were in prior to the flood damage. However, this attitude has to change if the UK is to learn how to live with water and the increased risk of flooding, the documentary urged.

The role of insurance needs to change, the film stated. Achieving flood resilience across the UK is not a “quick fix”, added Andy Bord, Flood Re chief executive.

Bord noted that industry collaboration around BBB is vital – he explained that improving flood resilience in the current house stock was a job too large for any one insurer, but with Flood Re spearheading cross-industry change and bringing together relevant thought leaders, “momentum” could therefore build and “snowball” to benefit policyholders living in flood risk zones.

Bord was quick to add, however, that the BBB scheme is not the only initiative seeking to drive national improvements in flood resilience.

He said the programme is merely part of a country-wide “momentum for change” that aims to “normalise” flood resilience and give insurers a role beyond being “arithmetical beasts” – BBB strives to give policyholders peace of mind and offer them control of their own flood risks, Hoban added.

Flood Re chairman Mark Hoban, wants these types of flood resilience measures to become as commonplace as burglar alarms.

He said the BBB scheme indicates a “step change” for insurers and gives Flood Re the opportunity to be “life changing” – especially as ongoing climate change will only make flood resilience a more necessary and relevant precaution.

With this in mind, he explained that BBB will not be a ‘one and done’ type scheme. Instead, the initiative will need to evolve in line with the flood threat, meaning that the £10,000 contribution to flood resilient repair measures is not set in stone, but will remain under review.

Changing attitudes

The overriding message from the documentary’s screening was one of positivity, with Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, emphasising that “it’s now or never” when it comes to combating the UK’s growing flood risks.

Hoban agreed that if Flood Re doesn’t get the ball rolling on BBB, then no other organisation is likely to pick up the mantle.

Insurers and brokers involvement in risk management is growing apace, especially post-pandemic, and Flood Re’s BBB initiative ties nicely into this remit.