HOMEOWNERS are being denied flood insurance because of delays by the Government and insurers coming to a new deal on affordable cover, it was claimed today.
Now a Kirklees councillor is battling to get a new scheme set up.
Clr Andrew Cooper is fighting on behalf of several residents in Armitage Bridge, who have been hit by flooding twice in the last four years.
Many more families in West Yorkshire are expected to hit similar problems, after flooding in recent weeks.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, said an arrangement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to provide cover to flood-risk homes expires next June, and a new agreement has yet to be reached.
It said that a number of councils have reported homeowners who have tried to renew their insurance in the past few weeks have been denied cover or quoted hugely inflated prices.
In Armitage Bridge, several properties were flooded when Dean Brook burst its banks in 2008.
Clr Cooper, leader of the Green Party on Kirklees Council, is also chairman of the LGA flood management committee.
He said: “The agreement that was in place worked fine but now it is to expire, some insurance companies are wanting to charge ridiculous premiums which people cannot afford.
“We are trying to work with the Government and with the insurance industry to come up with a solution.
“The best way forward would be to bring in a scheme similar to the level of cover provided against terrorist incidents.
“The Government has provided money as a fund for insurance companies for such events and we are trying to arrange something similar for flooding victims.”
Although the Government announced earlier this week that councils would receive reimbursement for clearing up flood damage following record-breaking rainfall over recent weeks, local authorities are concerned that communities will be hit hard if high-risk areas effectively become blacklisted by insurers.
Councils have been calling for clarity on arrangements to replace the current statement of principles for the past two years.
The LGA said that when the north west of England was hit by floods earlier this month, one local authority found that an estimated 100 out of 800 homes affected were without insurance.
Nick Starling, ABI director of general insurance, said: “It is wrong for the LGA to paint a picture of insurers leaving their customers in limbo on flood cover.
“Insurers continue to honour their commitments under the current agreement with Government, providing cover to their customers in high flood-risk areas as a standard part of home and small business insurance.
“Insurers are determined that flood insurance remains available and affordable and we are currently in constructive discussions with Government to explore how we can achieve this.”