Insurer raises concerns of flood risk with storms forecast

16 August 2022

Heavy rains are expected to hit the country in the coming days with people being advised to prepare for flash flooding

  • Forecast storms across the UK pose risk to properties
  • Annual cost of flood damage estimated to be in excess of £1 billion1
  • Ecclesiastical Insurance issues warning and advice to customers

With heavy rain expected to hit the country over the coming days, specialist insurer Ecclesiastical is advising people to prepare for flash flooding.

Following a second lengthy spell of extreme hot weather this year many areas have declared a drought for the first time since 2018. As a result of the heatwave the ground has dried out which means there is a greater risk of flash flooding as the parched ground will struggle to absorb rainwater placing far greater pressure on drainage systems.

The MET office has now forecast thunderstorms across the UK and Ecclesiastical Insurance is urging customers to take steps to help protect their property from the risk of localised flooding.

In July 2021, nearly 76mm of rain fell in 90 minutes in parts of London affecting an estimated 1,500 properties2. Ecclesiastical dealt with a significant number of claims as a result of the flood water entering properties, including churches when local drainage systems were overwhelmed.

Jo Whyman, Risk Management Director at Ecclesiastical explained: “Flash flooding can happen miles away from established watercourses and can occur where there is no history of previous flooding problems. This makes it hard to predict and it can happen very quickly.

“In some cases existing drains haven’t been upgraded or maintained to cope with new building developments which means that the local sewage system simply can’t deal with the increased volumes of water run-off. The current dry ground conditions will add further pressure to drainage systems with lower rates of absorption driving more water into drains.

“We are urging customers to review the risk of flood to their properties and consider ways to manage the risk should the worst happen. Where possible they should check drainage systems to make sure they are clear of any blockages and consider what flood barriers could be used to prevent water getting into the property.”

Ecclesiastical’s risk management team has developed flood risk guidance which provides advice on the steps customers can take to help manage reduce the risk.

Jo continued: “Some of the steps customers can take include making sure you have a list of key contacts such as the emergency services, an electrician, a Gas Safe Contractor and your insurer in a safe and waterproof place. Carrying out simple visual checks of the property can easily identify such issues as damaged guttering, or blocked rainwater gullies, and allow simple maintenance measures to be put in place.

“Similarly, checking of drains and gullies in the land surrounding your buildings, such as access roads and car parks, is key to identifying potential issues in advance of any storm conditions. If a flood warning is issued move valuable items out of reach of flood levels and keep up to date with the latest alerts from the Met Office or the Environment Agency."

More guidance and advice is available on the Ecclesiastical website.