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Flooding could leave uninsured businesses 'high and dry'

By Alan Beresford

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BUSINESSES are being warned they risk being left high and dry if they are hit by flooding.

Andy Cooper, of insurance broker Lycetts.
Andy Cooper, of insurance broker Lycetts.

It comes as a new academic study predicts a surge in flood events in Scotland in the coming decades.

Andy Cooper, of insurance broker Lycetts, has cautioned that many business owners could be left to foot the bill for potentially huge costs because of exclusions or high excesses for flooding on their insurance policies.

He urged Scottish businesses to take flood risk more seriously, after new research from Heriot-Watt University revealed that the region could see flood events increase by a third (30-34 per cent) by 2080.

He said: “Flood risks are increasing, due largely to the effects of climate change and an increasing population – and this is only going to get worse and affect more and more businesses.

“What many business owners do not realise is that although some protection can be provided for homeowners as part of the government’s Flood RE initiative, this does not apply to commercial businesses.

“Many businesses are at risk of being left ‘high and dry’ and losing everything, if they haven’t arranged the right protection – and this problem is set to become more prevalent as flooding becomes more common and widespread.

“What you tend to find in flood-affected areas, after the first flood, insurers will raise the premium for flood cover, increase the flood excess or exclude flood risk altogether.

“These businesses are left with few options – pay higher premiums, accept a significant excess or have no cover at all – in which case a contingency plan using vital funds is needed.”

Mr Cooper warned against complacency, highlighting that it is not just properties that have been flooded in the past or are located near waterways that are at an increased flood risk.

“Towns are expanding and new developments are cropping up, which leads to a loss of grass to absorb rainwater and an additional strain being put on the drainage system. Add climate change into the mix, and the heavy deluge of rainwater that comes with it, and you have a precarious situation.

“We are finding areas that have never flooded before are now at risk. We need to ‘shift gears, to ensure we adapt and become more resilient’.”

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