Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 09:01 UK

Insurers agree new flooding deal

Flooding in Pontypridd
Scenes like this have become more common around Wales

A new agreement between the Welsh Assembly Government and the insurance industry will give more protection against the impact of flooding.

Ministers and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) will work to improve the management of flood risks.

They will also help people recover more quickly after flooding.

The agreement was reached as new figures were released showing that one in six properties in Wales is at risk of flooding.

The report by Environment Agency Wales suggested 600,000 people in Wales live or work in flood risk areas.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson said the assembly government had been advocating a move from flood defence to flood risk management for some time.

"Only last month Welsh communities were affected by flash flooding," she said.

Raising awareness

"With forecasts showing the increased rainfall due to climate change the risk of flooding is set to increase.

"Irrespective of the height of our defences or the capacity of our drainage systems, we will have to adapt to more extreme weather."

She said the agreement was "one measure to sit alongside the hard defences of our rivers and coast, raising awareness of the risks of flooding amongst our vulnerable communities and increasing their resilience to flood events."

"Insurance companies will continue to provide effective and efficient claims services following flooding whilst the Welsh Assembly Government will put in place various measures to mitigate against flood risk.

"This confirms our shared commitment to work together to provide a long-term solution that will enable flood insurance to remain as affordable and widely available as possible."

Low-income households

Both bodies aim to improve understanding and awareness of flood risk, put in place a long-term strategy - of over 25 years - to reduce flood risk and encourage action on the risks and costs of flooding.

They also aim to ensure the planning system prevents inappropriate development in flood risk areas and raises awareness in areas where flood risk is significant

The insurers have agreed to continue to make flood insurance available for homes and small businesses and promote access to insurance for low-income households.

They will also encourage customers to reinstate flood damaged property in ways which makes it more resilient to flooding.

Justin Jacobs, ABI's assistant director of property insurance said: "The Welsh Assembly Government rightly recognises that a long-term flood strategy, backed by adequate resources and funding, is the best way to manage the growing flood threat.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that these measures are implemented so that flood protection relied upon by homeowners and businesses remains widely available."

The agreement will be reviewed annually.

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