Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Wednesday, 18 July 2012 16:02 UK

Peer attacks cost of insurance for flood-risk homes

A Labour peer has criticised insurance companies for imposing "swingeing increases" in premiums for homeowners in high flood-risk areas.

Lord Dubs said it was time for the industry to "get its house in order", as he raised the matter at question time in the Lords on 18 July 2012.

He said homeowners were put off buying insurance by the high premiums, with some "forced" to go to other companies "who then bear all the risk".

Government spokesman Lord de Mauley, whose former home was flooded in 2007, said he recognised that prices are "rising" and "could become unaffordable" for some homeowners.

That is why the government is considering an "internal industry levy", he said, to allow policyholders in areas at most risk of flooding to purchase affordable insurance "without having an impact on bills more generally".

The government was working with the industry on a number of additional options to address access and affordability of home insurance, he added.

The Conservative's Baroness Knight of Collingtree pointed out that it is "almost impossible" to sell a house without flood insurance because a mortgage cannot be obtained without it.

For the opposition, Lord Knight of Weymouth urged ministers to conclude a deal with insurers before breaking for the summer recess.

He said the government must "incentivise householders to invest in flood resilience" to make their homes insurable and their premiums affordable.

The minister agreed with the "general thrust" of his comments.

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