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Written Answers - Flood Relief

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 170.  Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan  the position regarding insurance (details supplied) [23701/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Irish Insurance Federation that flood insurance cover is currently available to approximately 98% of householders in Ireland. Neither the Central Bank nor I, as Minister for Finance, can compel insurance companies to quote for business. The decision to provide any specific form of insurance cover, and the price at which it is offered, is a commercial matter based on the assessment of the risks involved. There are no provisions in the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code to compel an insurance company to accept a particular insurance risk. However, I wish to inform you that the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and his officials are engaged in discussions with the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) in relation to the difficulties experienced by certain householders in obtaining insurance cover for flood risk.

These discussions have allowed a sharing of information and understanding about the scope and scale of the work undertaken by the OPW on flood risk management and, in particular, on the mapping of areas subject to flood risk nationally which will emerge from the OPW’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management programme (CFRAM). This programme is a national initiative to systematically identify, assess, document and report on the most significant flood risks throughout the country. This work is being undertaken on OPW’s behalf by specialist consultants and is organised into six separate regional or catchment areas. These comprehensive studies will recommend an integrated management plan and prioritised measures to address flood problems in areas where there is significant risk in each major catchment in the country.

The discussions between the OPW and the IIF have also focused on how the insurance industry can best address the issue of the provision of flood insurance where incidences of difficulties in obtaining flood insurance are being raised. The insurance industry considers that this incidence is marginal and has indicated that where it arises the causes are complex with each case being assessed in light of the particular circumstances applying. The OPW and the [354]IIF are keen to establish a sustainable means of sharing information on areas vulnerable to flooding and on identifying flood defence works carried out or funded by the OPW and the impact of those works in reducing the risk of flooding in areas where flooding previously occurred. A number of issues are being clarified with a view to agreement being reached on a viable basis on which information can be provided.

In tandem with these developments, the Irish National Flood Forum, which is a voluntary body representing communities affected by flooding, plans to undertake a survey to gather as much information as possible from their member organizations. Details of what will be involved should be available shortly on the Forum’s website The information gathered by the Forum will be a useful input into the deliberative process on this subject.

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