As we are presently experiencing, the UK is a wet country. Our green and pleasant land is at the mercy of weather systems which are capable of picking up huge amounts of water from the Atlantic Ocean and delivering it onto our towns and countryside.
If your premises are by or on a river or other watercourse you have certain rights and responsibilities as a riparian owner under laws which came into force in 2012. Riparian means simply “of, on, or relating to the banks of a natural course of water”, and you may not have known that it is you may have a duty of care extending to the middle of the river or canal!
Even if you live miles from these water sources, you may still be at risk from surface water, groundwater aquifers, drainage or sewer flooding. However, the management of flood risk from surface water, groundwater and minor rivers and streams is the responsibility the local authorities. In general, the risk from surface flooding is extremely difficult to pinpoint and is also on the rise, possibly due to a reduction of natural urban drainage from gardens.
Flooding may occur in places not previously known to be at risk, which is why having your own flood plan is often a sensible precaution.
The management of risk from drainage and sewage overflow is the duty of water companies. If you have reason to believe your home or business is at danger from these types of flooding, you should contact these agencies as they may become the party liable if you ever need to put in an insurance claim for flooding.
I Think I’m at Risk of Flooding. What Should I Do?
After you have checked the Environment Agency (EA) flood maps and had a look at the resilience of your property, the next priority is insurance. The EA works under an agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) (http://www.abi.org.uk) to try and ensure that the vast majority of properties can be insured against flood risk.
What Should I do About Flood Insurance?
In areas where the risk of flooding is considered ‘significant’ (a more than 1 in 75 annual chance of flooding) but where Flood Defences are due to be improved within five years, ABI members will continue to provide cover, and this includes owners of new-build homes. In areas of significant risk where no improvements are planned, insurers cannot guarantee to insure a property but will work on a case-by-case basis to seek preventative or remedial measures and enable cover to be obtained.
For advice and help if you have been affected by the floods, Contact Geoff Williams at Cherry and Griffiths Independent Loss Asseessors via www.cherryandgriffiths.co.uk
For help with protecting your business you may want help. Contact an experienced Insurance specialist at www.bucklandharvester.co.uk
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