MP demands new insurance deal for flooded properties

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MPs HAVE been told of flooded homeowners around Bognor Regis being faced with unaffordable insurance policies.

Nick Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, used a House of Commons debate to demand the continuation of a deal between the government and insurance companies that ensured flood victims could still get covered.

He said after the session: “The severe rain and consequent flooding in June were freak events and should not, therefore, impact on people’s insurance premiums or the availability of insurance.

“Anecdotal evidence, however, points to many residents having great difficulty renewing their insurance.

“That is why the agreement between the government and the insurance industry about ensuring the availability of flood insurance to all households is so important.

“The current agreement, known as the statement of principles, expires in June this year.

“It is essentail that a similar agreement is put in place urgently.”

Mr Gibb stressed the need for the agreement to be renweed to the government’s minister for the natural environment and fisheries, Richard Benyon, in the Commons.

“Hundreds of homes were badly flooded in Bognor and Littlehampton last June following a freak 36-hour rainstorm,” said Mr Gibb.

“Thousands of my constituents now face problems with flood insurance.

“I am told of excesses in the tens of thousands of pounds.

“May I emphasise to (the minister), in his negotiations with the insurance industry and others, the importance to my constituents of finding a replacement for the flood insurance statement of principles as a matter of urgency?”

Mr Benyon stated his complete agreement with Mr Gibb’s sentiments. He repeated his pledge, reported before Christmas, to visit the Bognor area to hear about the concerns of residents.

“I can assure him that we want to achieve something better than the statement of principles, which does not cover all properties and has no element that affects affordability.

“We recognise that there are real concerns about this, including in my constituency, where insurance premiums are being hiked dramatically.

“We want to protect those on low incomes who are at flood risk.”

As reported, Arun District Council’s assistant director of environmental services, Philippa Dart, described the flooding as the area’s biggest disaster for at least ten years.

Up to 170mm of rain fell in 36 hours around June 11 to flood 392 properties. Most were in the Bognor area. Many were in Middleton, Felpham and North Bersted.

Flooding also affected 61 of the district’s roads to worsen matters.