Small firms need insurance protection against flooding as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) raises concerns that many businesses in high-risk flood areas cannot get adequate insurance cover and will have to pay out themselves to repair damage.
The FSB believes that further investment in flood defences would make it easier for businesses and householders to get insurance. This would protect them against the cost of repair.
The FSB is urging the Government to do more to protect small firms in areas at high risk of flooding. It should work closely with the Environment Agency on flood defences and in the immediate term it should reach a resolution with the insurance industry. The Association of British Insurers and the Government need to come to a swift decision on universal cover which ends in June 2013.
One FSB member in York, who does not wish to be named, said that he had already been flooded around 18 times in 2012 and is having to pay out around £10,000 each time to repair the damage. “This is devastating my business and I don’t have insurance for flood damage.”
About 200 flood warnings are in force in England and Wales, with major road and rail links affected across much of the south west, Wales and Yorkshire.
Speaking from York where he is visiting an FSB member and other businesses affected, John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“It is unacceptable that small firms are paying out what could amount to tens of thousands of pounds because they can’t get adequate insurance protection from their insurers. Nor is it acceptable that flood defences aren’t robust enough to withstand the rain. The money these firms are paying out could be being used to grow their business or take on more staff. Instead they have to pay themselves to repair the damage. This can’t carry on year-after-year, so the Government and insurance industry must reach a decision on the universal cover as soon as possible. For those firms that have cover and have been affected, their insurers should pay out quickly to ensure the business can start trading again.”