Thursday, 8 March 2018
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Flood Risk Insurance Cover Provision
95. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the OPW has reached agreement with the insurance industry on the use of demountable defences; if the insurance industry has given assurance that flood cover will be reinstated once a flood defence scheme involving demountable defences has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11539/18]
The Government’s strategy is that in return to its investment on flood defence schemes in the most at risk communities, households and businesses should be able to access flood insurance.
While the Office of Public Works has no responsibility for oversight or regulation of the insurance industry in relation to flood risk insurance, or to insurance matters generally, the Office of Public Works has a very specific role in the exchange of information with the insurance industry in relation to completed flood defence schemes.
On 24thMarch 2014, the Office of Public Works agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance companies in Ireland. This Memorandum of Understanding has a specific focus with agreeing a basis on which information can be provided to the insurance industry on flood relief schemes completed by the OPW to an agreed standard of protection desired by the industry.
The Memorandum came into effect on 1stJune, 2014 with an initial tranche of data provided by the Office of Public Works to Insurance Ireland in respect of twelve completed flood defence schemes; showing the design, extent and nature of the protections offered by these works. Details of a further five schemes were provided in January 2015 and details of the Waterford Flood Defence Scheme were provided last year.
The Department of Finance and the OPW meet with Insurance Ireland on a quarterly basis in order to address issues in relation to this transfer of data. Recent meetings, while not exclusively, have focused on the flood cover in areas protected by demountable defences. The insurance sector has acknowledged that demountable defences are designed and when properly erected meet the desired standard. The OPW has given Insurance Ireland detailed information it sought to explain the protocols and procedures in place to maintain, test and erect demountable defences. Discussions are continuing with the Department of Finance to explore options to address the industry’s concerns about the ‘human element’ of demountable defences.
The Memorandum notes the OPW requirement that, when assessing exposure to flood risk, insurers take full account of information provided by the OPW on completed flood defence schemes. The Memorandum does not guarantee the availability of flood risk cover in the locations for which information has been provided by the OPW, and it accepts that the provision of cover, the level of premiums charged and the policy terms applied are a matter for individual insurers.