Charity plans to give uninsured homes flood cover

The Cork branch of St Vincent de Paul is putting forward proposals to create a national fund which would aid thousands of householders and businesses who can no longer get flood cover from insurance companies.

The branch is to put the proposals to its national council within a few weeks.

The proposals include asking uninsured householders to pay a flat rate contribution of €100 per year for cover.

Businesses would pay €1,000 for every €10,000 of cover they require.

Brendan Dempsey, the charity’s regional vice president, said it was becoming increasingly obvious that insurance companies would not provide flood cover to households previously flooded, or those companies perceived to be located in flood-risk areas.

Mr Dempsey said he would like to see the society run the scheme itself and it had taken advice from professionals.

The Cork branch can also claim credit for having launched what is now the nationwide Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) at the Lough Credit Union before the project was taken over by the Government.

“It was such a good scheme that the Government assumed control,” Mr Dempsey said. “We believe this new initiative is also a good scheme which the Government should get involved with. But we need to get it off the ground now.

“We would be asking the Government to also contribute to the fund. The insurance industry should also chip in by putting a levy of one euro on all policies which would then be put into the fund,” Mr Dempsey said.

The charity has paid out hundreds of thousands of euro to flood victims in the region following the 2009 and 2012 floods.

But Mr Dempsey warned that if another major flood occurred it was unlikely to be able to cope with demand.

He also said that the charity was still trying to make up shortfalls for people following the Jun 2012 flood.

“In one case a person has been left with a shortfall of €17,000 from their insurance company,” he said.

“On top of that, such people will not be offered flood cover again. We have come across many cases where insurance companies have trebled their premiums to such people and yet are now refusing them flood and subsidence cover,” he said.

This, Mr Dempsey added, had serious implications because it effectively meant householders would not be able to sell their homes.

“A prospective buyer needing a mortgage would not get one because mortgage brokers will demand they have such insurance cover,” he said.

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