Zurich UK has just launched an industry-first drive to help homeowners and businesses better protect their properties from repeat flooding. Zurich says it has transformed the way it handles flood claims to help property owners recover from extreme weather events, more details here;
More than 5.2 million properties, or one in six buildings in England, are at risk of flooding, according to the EA. In a recent report to the government, the EA urged ministers to invest early in climate resilience rather than live with the costs of inaction. Currently, when a flood occurs, most insurers look to reinstate properties on a like-for-like basis, potentially leaving them vulnerable to flooding again.
Zurich wants to break the cycle by using the property repair process to help customers improve their flood resilience. The aim is to reduce both the disruption faced by households and businesses and ultimately the cost of repeat flooding. Property flood resilience measures include ‘cost neutral’ changes, such as moving electric plug sockets higher up a wall following an electrical strip-out. With other modifications, homeowners and businesses may themselves look to invest in installing air brick covers, sump pumps and flood doors or barriers.
In an industry first move, Zurich will inform flood-hit customers of simple changes they could make to reduce their vulnerability to future flooding. Zurich will also signpost customers to specialist advice on flood resilience, available grants and other resources. This is in addition to the flood prevention advice Zurich already offers to customers.
To support this, Zurich has launched its “Flood Resilience Toolkit”, which sets out a formal process for loss adjusters to follow to ensure resilience is considered as part of every flood claim.
PREPPERS HAVE GOT A POINT
Paul Redington, Zurich’s Regional Major Loss Property Claims Manager, said: “We need to ‘batten down the hatches’ and prepare for a future where extreme weather fuelled by climate change is commonplace. Although we can’t prevent flooding, we can ensure properties are better protected.
We’ve transformed the way we handle claims to help flood-hit customers build back better. ( please can we cancel this globalist mantra? – Ed) This will mean every claim is a potential opportunity to make homes and business more resilient, and reduce the misery and disruption of being flooded time and again.”
Ian Gibbs, National Technical Manager at the loss adjuster, Sedgewick, said: “We have an excellent track record of supporting customers after a flood by providing them with flood resilient advice and repairs. But so much more needs to be done to make homes more flood resilient with work happening throughout the year, not just after a significant flood event.
“It’s great to be working with Zurich who are taking this approach to property resilience and making it their default position. Their ‘Flood Resilience Toolkit’ will help the wider loss adjusting community to have the conversation about resilient repairs with customers and encourage wider take up of this important aspect of flood mitigation.”
Zurich’s new way of handling flood claims also aims to reduce the carbon footprint involved in replacing and reinstating damage. This includes things like the waste generated by stripping out buildings, and the energy expended in drying.
MORE GRANTS NEEDED
In communities where flood risk and poverty levels are high, Zurich is calling for the government to make flood resilience grants available up front. The grants – which offer homeowners £5,000 to help defend their properties – are currently only available after a serious, widespread flooding event. Ministers should ensure the grants are available throughout the year to help people in the poorest parts of the country proactively protect their properties and businesses.
Redington continued: “The government needs to look at what it can do ahead of floods to encourage the uptake of flood resilience. With climate change bringing more frequent and severe weather, ministers need to consider a permanent grant scheme to incentivise flood resilience.”
Earlier this year, Zurich announced it would provide free counselling to policyholders and their families who become victims of flooding.
Under the initiative, customers who are forced to make a claim can access five counselling sessions with a qualified mental health expert. The benefit also extends to their immediate families over the age of 18.
What will Zurich’s new Flood Resilience Toolkit do?
As part of the claims process, Zurich will:
- Ensure the customer understands the concept and benefits of flood resilience and is in a more informed position to consider adopting appropriate measures.
- Help signpost customers to the potential for property adaptations that may be ‘cost neutral’ and others which may require additional (policyholder) funding, or (where available) from Government bodies for example.
- Provide valuable guidance which empowers customer choice, based on individual risk circumstances and the ability to build back better were possible.
- Help reduce the damage should the property flood again, and in turn benefit the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of any future repair.
How much do flood resilience measures cost?
You should obtain advice from an appropriate flood surveyor or competent contractor, however as a general indicative guide you might expect costs to be as follows:
- Professional survey – up to £900 incl. VAT
- Air brick cover – £20-£40
- Non-return valve on soil/waste/overflow pipes – £70-£650
- Sump pump – £400-£600
- Automatic flood doors – £2,000-£3,000
- Garage/driveway barrier – £2,000-£3,000