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The unexpected risks of flooding

At a glance

  • The intensity of flood events appears to be changing, impacting upon areas not previously affected
  • New Environment Agency maps can help property owners better determine risks to their portfolios
  • Zurich’s risk management engineers can offer advice to minimise flood damage

Recent flooding events in the UK have occurred with little warning, causing financial disruption and inconvenience to landlords, property investors and developers.

The heavy rain of the last few months has led to parts of the UK being affected by a wide variety of flooding – from flash floods, which are caused by a deluge of rain in a short amount of time, to surface water flooding, where the excess water has nowhere to flow to.

The unpredictable nature of the weather has made it difficult for landlords to know whether their property is at risk or not. For property investors, developers and landlords looking to invest in a particular area, research and due diligence are essential to see if there are any known potential risks from flooding.

Discover the level of flood risk you potentially face using flood maps:




Northern Ireland

“Insurance is all built on history and trends,” said Jonathan Scotcher, Underwriting Manager for Real Estate at Zurich. “But the intensity of current weather events means that flooding can occur in places with no previous history.”

“Areas that tend to suffer surface water flooding are often well developed. They are built-up areas, where the infrastructure and drainage systems just can’t cope with the sudden increase in water. Green areas are also minimal, leaving the water with no place to go.”

Identifying danger areas

In December 2013, the Environment Agency released detailed flood maps of England, including areas at risk from these assorted types of floods. One of the key features of the maps is to show properties at risk of flooding.

The comprehensive resource allows property developers and landlords to better determine risks to properties, and across their whole portfolio. It will also help insurers reassess flood risks in the UK.

Similar flood maps are also available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the aftermath

After a flood strikes and a claim is filed, brokers may need to advise affected customers to help them take some corrective measures to guard against or mitigate the impact of a repeat event.

“We deal with owners of property portfolios and many will have locations that might be in a high risk area,” said Jonathan.

“Brokers need to work with their customers as soon as possible so as to minimise any risks that are inherent in their portfolio and build resilience for the future.

“Zurich offers extended coverage to pay for the additional costs of reinstatement, including the use of resilient materials and the utilisation of PAS 1188 flood certified – or similar – products, methods or schemes. Coverage also includes specialist consultant fees, for the purpose of providing protection against future damage. Ask your Zurich contact for further detail upon this Adaptation Clause.”

Zurich also has a team of risk management engineers that can visit and assess the risks that are inherent within a property after a flood event.

For more information on how we can help you identify and manage your customers flood risk, please speak with your local Zurich contact.

You can also find out more and access helpful guides and insight with our new Flood Risk Resource.

Image © Getty

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