2020 Predictions: Flood resilience approaches will get a reboot

With the onset of climate change, flooding is no longer considered to be a once in 100 year event for many communities. This was demonstrated earlier this year with the flooding in Fishlake, South Yorkshire and the surrounding area. It is now clear that around 5 million people live within flood risk areas in England and Wales with one in six homes in England at risk of flooding.

These statistics can’t be ignored. We need to continue to work towards mitigating the devastating effects and adapt our responses to such events. Given much of the flooding in the UK is surface water or happens when flood defences are already in place, we must urgently review our approach to property level flood resilience.

Sedgwick has been supporting the concept of flood resilience for many years and, for the last three years, as part of the DEFRA Resilience Round Table. This group was formed to bring interested parties together (DEFRA, Environment Agency, insurers, flood risk modellers, contractors, surveyors and loss adjusters) to find ways to drive the uptake of property level flood resilience. This is key to the success of reducing the damage caused by flooding.

We expect that in 2020 insurers will begin to insist that their supply chain repair properties and businesses in a flood resilient way as this will mitigate future costs to insurers and support their customers. The repairs can often be cost neutral or funds may be available from government grants or investment by the property owner.

Property flood resilience measures give householders and businesses the tools to manage the impact that flooding has on their lives. It means taking action to stop water from entering a property, and if it does, reducing the level of damage it causes. Examples include installing airbrick covers, using flood-resistant coatings on walls and set in place flood barriers to stop water coming through doorways or other openings.

We have been working closely with insurers to see how we can help them to support both their domestic and commercial customers. One of our insurer clients has included a degree of flood resilience cover in their domestic policies and we are currently providing advice and making properties more resilient after the recent floods.

Given the extensive financial and personal impact flooding has on customers, businesses and the wider community, this has to be how we change our approach to flooding in 2020 and beyond.

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