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Flood risk: Buying with confidence – Esurv

by: Richard Sexton, business development director, Esurv
  • 18/10/2016
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Flood risk: Buying with confidence – Esurv
Richard Sexton weighs up recent suggestions from the Association of British Insurers on how to tackle the flood risks faced by potential homebuyers.

The Association of British Insurers has relaunched a proposal it previously floated (pun intended) last year. The group represents the organisations who have to put their hands in their pockets should a property suffer damage as a result of flooding; a scenario likely to be in the news again shortly as we move into the winter months.

To be fair, the organisation has made positive steps to address not only its members’ own commercial interests, but also those of the public who may be increasingly blighted by this issue. For example, launching the not-for-profit Flood Re scheme, in April this year. The scheme helps those facing perceived higher risk maintain access to affordable insurance.

On the face of it, the latest idea is not a bad one, either. According to the ABI, only 28% of purchasers research flood risk before buying. Why not, therefore, add a ‘traffic light’ style logo to all property sales details indicating the level of flood risk? It’s a nice concept, but the last time I was waiting at a red light, I understood that to mean ‘under no circumstances proceed’, whereas green, if I recall correctly, means ‘proceed with confidence’.

Neither of these directives could or should be fully relied on by purchasers in this scenario and, consequently, agents and intermediaries will be left having to do their best to explain matters to prevent deals from sinking unnecessarily. Lenders are increasingly turning to surveyors for advice on this topic, who can combine local knowledge with access to detailed objective risk data. That seems like friendlier shore to steer for, longer term.

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