Enda Kenny to quiz insurance industry on flood cover

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to meet representatives of the insurance industry today to discuss cover for flood-prone homes and businesses. Mr Kenny said people living in towns where flood defences exist must be given flood insurance.

However, the comment is at odds with Insurance Ireland, the umbrella body for the industry, who last week said they would not be willing to sign up to any scheme to cover flood-prone areas until significant defences were built.

Michael Horan of Insurance Ireland blamed the Government for a lack of flood defences saying it would be illogical for insurers to pay out in areas where there was repeated flooding.

It is likely that there will be disagreement today between members of the insurance industry and Mr Kenny. The meeting will also be attended by ministers including Alan Kelly and Simon Harris.

Yesterday Mr Kenny said plain speaking is needed around the fact that people in towns like Fermoy, Co Cork, and Clonmel, Co Tipperary, where publicly-funded flood defences exist and have worked, were still unable to get full cover.

“We need to have to have a forthright discussion with the insurance companies. There is a difference between towns where defences have been put in place, as in Fermoy and Clonmel. The stories I am getting is that people are still unable to get insurance for their homes. We need to tease that out,” he said.

Asked, if levies were on the table for discussion, Mr Kenny said the Government will consider the options as to how best to deal with the issue.

Minister with responsibility for the OPW, Simon Harris said today’s meeting would be seen in the context of the inter-departmental group which has been asked by the Department of Finance to look at other countries and their flood insurance arrangements.

“A levy is not a preference but all options are being looked at,” he said adding that almost half a billion euro will be invested in flood defences in the coming years.


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