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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

floods ... storm Frank .. torment residents of .. .. UK

December 2015 started differently – disastrously for Chennai – it rained and the incessant rains tormented people – killing a few; damaging property of thousands of its residents – putting them to untold hardships.  Those affected parts of Chennai are limping back to normality.  People have suffered all sorts of damage and many are queuing Insurance Companies seeking indemnity.  Vehicles inundated water remain in some places as garages do not have enough space to taken them in – there is dearth of repairers..

.. .. ..  for those of us associated with Insurance Companies – there is much work in the form of assessment, identification, documentation and indemnity.  One striking aspect is ‘Chennai floods 2015’ – perhaps has more uninsured losses !

Miles away, there is trouble in UK as a fresh storm threatens to bring more misery to parts of the UK, including areas already hit by severe flooding. Storm Frank is due to sweep in from Tuesday evening, with Cumbria and south and central Scotland at most risk. There are already nine severe flood warnings - meaning "danger to life" - in England and Wales, mostly centred on York which was flooded on Saturday. David Cameron has defended government spending on flood defences after thedevastation across northern England.

Follow the latest live updates on the flooding  Hurricane force winds of more than 120mph set to smash into Britain tonight in the form of Storm Frank are more powerful than those of the infamous storm of 1987 which claimed 22 lives. Met Office figures say the catastrophic winds which ripped up 15 MILLION trees across the country and left a £5BILLION trail of destruction in their wake peaked at 115mph.  This storm is set to top 120mph.

In tune with my thinking, MailOnline reports that uninsured victims face £1Billion  bill as total cost of floods soars to £5.8billion: Exactly the amount we are giving to the fight against global warming abroad.  Flood-hit residents who were unable to take out insurance on their homes face £1billion in losses, it has been revealed. Experts said prohibitively high costs meant some homeowners and businesses were unable to take out sufficient cover before this month's disaster in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire.

New estimates suggest the cost of the floods could be up to £5.8billion - the exact amount Britain recently committed to spend helping poorer countries tackle climate change over the next five years. Flood victims have demanded that some of Britain’s £12billion foreign aid budget is used to help them after a catastrophic few weeks.

Small businesses must be offered affordable insurance as part of a long-term plan for flood defences, Labour has warned. Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said it was wrong to exclude small firms from the new ‘Flood RE’ scheme being established to help homeowners. The scheme works by capping insurance premiums for people in high flood risk areas, funded by a small premium on all other household policies. But it excludes business premises - with ministers justifying the decision in 2014 on the basis businesses would not pay into the scheme. Ms Eagle said: ‘Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and this is an issue of critical national importance, so Labour is ready to work with the Government to come up with a long-term plan which addresses the key weaknesses in our nation’s flood defences and preparedness, including help for businesses in accessing affordable insurance."  She added: ‘Businesses are concerned that a scheme which provides affordable insurance currently excludes small businesses.

Just we saw those areas where houses have been constructed on water bodies badly affected -  over there in UK too,  despite warnings over further episodes of severe flooding, some 10,000 homes are being built on the nation's floodplains each year, according to analysis by the Financial Times.  Accountants KPMG said the £5.8billion in expected costs will include insured losses of up to £1.5billion - the estimated cost of claims made by homeowners and businesses.  But the cost of under insurance - the amount insurers deem not to be covered by a given policy - was likely to be a further £1billion, according to the company.

The limits on many insurance policies mean they are inadequate for covering the full loss.  In addition, given the post-Christmas timing, homeowners will have indirectly increased their contents values with presents and food, and while several policies provide for such an uplift, many do not. As of April, a Government-backed scheme, Flood Re, will help enable flood cover to be affordable for hundreds of thousands of households at highest risk of flooding. However, community leaders have slammed the timing of its introduction, saying homeowners needed this cover available to them months ago.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose Rochdale constituency has been badly affected by flooding, also questioned the Government’s refusal to touch the aid budget. ‘Why do we spend money in Bangladesh when it needs spending in Great Britain?’ he asked.  Some of the overseas projects already funded by UK taxpayers have proved controversial.  Projects to help the thousands of victims of severe flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh have been hit by complaints of poor administration and governance. Around £200million has been pledged to Jamaica and other Caribbean islands to upgrade their roads and bridges to cope with flooding and build sea and river defences.  Under EU rules, a country has ten weeks from the first damage caused by a natural disaster to make an application for aid. Last summer it paid out £60million to help the recovery effort following floods in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria in which 60 people died.

Britain has only ever made one claim – after the summer floods of 2007 – and  were awarded £130million.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Dec 2015

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