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Flood prevention

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

The top of a tree and road signs are seen in a flooded street all that can be

Source: (Unsplash)

Flooding is currently one of the biggest issues in the insurance industry. Many professionals note that people are hesitant about building their properties in a more resilient and resistant way because of the industry’s bad reputation. A discussion with an experienced insurance expert highlights that there are two major reasons why trust in flood prevention measures is so low: firstly, flood risk assessments are often not done effectively or by qualified professionals; secondly, because of climate change, a property that was perfectly safe a couple of years ago can now be located in a flood risk area.

As a consequence, frequent property reconstructions lead to materials, resources and energy (both physical and mental) being wasted. To introduce sustainability and minimise the damage caused by floods, awareness needs to be spread to make flood resistance (preventing the water to enter the property) and resilience (reducing the effect of water that has entered the property) the new standard. Perhaps the most essential strategy to achieve this, which some companies are already pushing forward, is attaching a flood rating to the property (for example on a A-D scale), similarly to the regularly used energy rating. This could surely increase transparency and help customers to better understand risks associated with the property and measures that should be taken.

Additionally, as the demand for additional housing grows, new properties are often being built in flood-prone environments, whether that is by the sea, river or in urban areas where drainage systems may not provide suitable expansion infrastructure. Since 2009, around 70,000 thousand homes had been built in such areas, of which almost one third lacked flood defences. Recent UK government direction requires that new properties be built only if they are flood-proofed. A solution to this problem could be building amphibious houses - a type of living that contributes to better cohabitation of people with the natural environment. These houses are able to rise up and float on the water once there is a flood, mounted in a dock-like post which prevents them from moving. However, there are other environmentally-beneficial solutions which can decrease the flood risk in flood-prone areas as well, such as the restoration of the natural course of rivers and planting more trees.

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