Millions Invested but Survey Shows Flood Insurance all but Impossible to get

Over the summer I conducted a survey of over 1,000 households about their flood insurance cover in the Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount area flanking the Dodder River. The results show that it is all but impossible to get cover for flood damage and that even without it; many have seen their annual house insurance premium increase by up to 50%. This is despite the OPW investing over €8.5 million in the last 4 years on flood defences along the Dodder to prevent tidal and river flooding up to a 200 year event.

With the Irish Insurance Federation before the Oireachtas Environment Committee tomorrow I plan to raise these findings with them, what their strategy is towards dealing with people in areas previously categorised as high flood risk and how they take into account recent flood protection works.

I will also be writing to Minister of State for the OPW Brian Hayes, providing him with the results of my survey and highlighting that despite the investment across the country in flood protection works, homeowners are not seeing the benefits in their ability to get insurance cover.

“The Government is investing €45 million this year alone in flood defences but from the information I have received it appears the insurance industry is not factoring these developments into its risk models, and instead all but excluding nearby residents from flood cover.”

“I also look forward to the European Commission report due to be published by the end of September which is likely to lead to EU rules requiring insurance firms to insure homes at risk of flooding and this is an issue my colleague Emer Costello MEP is working on.”

The overwhelming conclusion from the responses I received from residents was that they were told they lived in a ‘high risk area’ and that they would not get cover for flood damage. This was in spite of many of them not even being flooded in 2002 and being further protected now with new barriers in place.