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RECORD BREAKING RAINFALL LEADS TO EXTENSIVE FLOODING
It may seem long ago, but on 16 February 2020, The Environment Agency issued 347 flood alerts followed by seven severe flood warnings presenting a danger to life. Many parts of the UK experienced disastrous flooding as a result of record-breaking rainfall following storms, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, leading to extensive river flooding.
Zurich Insurance has called for urgent action to help communities and businesses prepare for the worst, suggesting that the UK is at risk of a “double disaster” in the latter part of the year, faced with flooding and a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This summer, there has been a warming of the horse latitudes west of Africa and the Caribbean is warmer than usual leading to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), forecasting a more severe hurricane season.
The UK had a mild winter, followed by a very warm spring and our sea temperatures are also warmer than usual. Japan is encountering the same phenomena resulting in deadly flooding.
Crucially, a CO2 rich atmosphere also means two things; more efficient plants, increasing agricultural run-off, resulting in surface water, and the increased ability of the atmosphere to hold evaporated water. This can increase the risk of flash flooding.
In the UK, there are few, if any, perils that cause the devastation that flooding can. It can destroy entire communities and all the evidence suggests that future UK flooding is not only inevitable, but is likely to occur in the immediate future, causing widespread losses to businesses and households still reeling from the Coronavirus pandemic.
PERILS, the independent organisation that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data, estimates the insured property market loss for February 2020 UK floods at £300m. There have been multiple summer floods in recent years and the floods in July 2007 alone are estimated to have cost £3.2bn.
Laura McAlpine, Zurich’s head of public affairs comments, “Hundreds of thousands of households have been left more vulnerable as a result of the worst public health crisis in a generation. Even relatively minor flooding would place disproportionate strain on people’s jobs, finances and mental health. If towns are hit by flooding in the coming months, the impact would be magnified, with particularly severe consequences for the most vulnerable in society”.
Towergate Insurance Brokers has produced a publication titled Flood; The UK Landscape authored by Commercial Director, Mark Brannon. It describes the measures being taken by government, including grants available, the BIBA approved commercial scheme and advice on pre-loss prevention and protection. Click here to get your copy