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David Cameron promises to get tough on insurers as aerial pictures show desperate plight of Britain's flooded homeowners
Homeowners could face 20,000 excess on future insurance claims as a result of being repeatedly hit by floodsTewkesbury has been hit once already this year and suffered from devastating flooding in 2007
02:52 GMT, 28 November 2012
David Cameron today promised to take a 'tough approach' on negotiations with insurers over homes in danger of flooding as pictures emerged of its devastating effects in a town that has already been hit once this year.
Residents in Tewkesbury are once again counting the cost of being hit by flooding from the River Severn and its tributaries following heavy rainfall – and it's just five years since the town was home to similar watery scenes.
As a result people in the town could face excess on their damage claims of 20,000 as well as a rise in their insurance premium but the Prime Minister has said he will come down hard on insurers who fail to provide affordable cover.
In 2007 Tewkesbury Abbey became a symbol of the town's plight as water crept ever closer to its foundations and now it looks like the town is suffering from the same fate.
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Waters get dangerously close to Tewkesbury Abbey after the nearby river burst its banks for the second time this year
Businesses and home-owners face yet another clean-up bill as property became flooded and defence systems failed under the sheer volume of water
Caravans in Forthampton, near Tewkesbury were tossed around like boxes after the floodwaters swallowed up the ground around them
St Asaph was under water today after the River Elwy burst its banks and hundreds of people were evacuated
The scale of the flooding was visible from the skies with huge bodies of water covering the land around the city
This picture shows how deep the water went in some places in the North Wales city
This time, however, the river was expected to peak at 4.8m – one metre lower than the peak five years ago.
As this is the third time that the
town has witnessed such flooding insurers will once again facing picking
up the bill for damage done to many buildings.
In turn it is likely that home and
business owners will face a rise in the amount they pay for their
interest and, more worryingly, a rise in the amount they pay for their
In 2007 a couple in Powick,
Worcestershire, had their house flooded twice in the same summer. Chris
and Wendy Wreghitt were told their insurance excess would be 20,000
after a 4ft wave of water washed across the road through their home.
The six-bedroom detached house
suffered hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of flood damage to the
kitchen, living room and study.
At the time Mr Wreghitt, 53, said Axa
dealt with them efficiently but when he went to renew his home
insurance a year later his premium jumped from 1,000 to 1,638. Then in
2009 it more than doubled to 3,747. Initially Axa said their excess
would be 20,000 but once he complained it was lowered to 10,000.
Here to help: Rescue services, visited by Mr Cameron, have been working together to tackle the flooding that has hit the area
The PM attended a Silver Command meeting at Gloucestershire Police HQ to see how they have been working to tackle the flooding
Prime Minister David Cameron meets staff at Gloucestershire Tri-Services, Gloucester, who are dealing with the flooding
Although the devastation is not yet as bad as that seen in 2007, these pictures show why insurers ask residents for a 20,000 excess
Flooding can be seen stretching for miles away from Tewkesbury after heavy downpours broke the banks of the River Severn
There is hope, however, after Prime
Minister David Cameron today promised to take a 'tough approach' on
negotiations with insurers over homes in danger of flooding.
Up to 200,000 high risk properties are
at risk of being priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in
2000 between the then Labour government and insurers ends next summer.
The Government has been in talks for two years but as yet an agreement
has not been reached.
'I'm sure we will do a deal,' Mr Cameron said. 'We are in negotiations at the moment.
'We need to take a tough approach
frankly and it's important insurance companies do what they are meant
to, which is provide insurance to households and we are going to make
sure that happens.'
Mr Cameron said he was determined to reach an agreement. 'I am personally involved,' he said.
'(Cabinet Office Minister) Oliver
Letwin is doing this negotiation on my behalf. The current situation we
have lasts until the middle of next year and we have some time to sort
'But I want to get it sorted. I've
seen myself in my own constituency the difficulty people have when they
can't get insurance. It's not just it makes them feel unsafe in their
own home but they can't sell their own home, so it's very important we
get this sorted on their behalf.'
VIDEO: Britain underwater: flooding seen from the air…
David Cameron speaks with Musky Kendall in Buckfastleigh, near Exeter, as she tells him how quickly the floods rose inside her house
Hedgerows are the only sign that this is flooded farmland and not a huge lake
David Cameron has vowed to get tough on insurers who charge people too much for cover for when they are flooded
Mr Cameron was speaking after he met
householders in the village of Buckfastleigh, Devon, which was struck by
flash flooding at the weekend.
'It is obviously very traumatic when
communities are hit by flooding like this but what I found are people
are incredibly steadfast and have behaved incredibly bravely at handling
the flood and now we need to help them with the recovery,' he said.
'We have to make sure their insurance
pays out, make sure the Environment Agency puts in place good flood
defences, make sure there are better warning schemes. There are always
lessons to learn and I wanted to come here and hear it for myself.'
Mr Cameron also visited recently-built
flood defences on the River Dart, which have helped protect the local
area from worse flooding. The Prime Minister defended his Government’s
record on providing flood defences despite a cut in the budget.
'We are spending over 2 billion on
flood defences over the current four-year period, which is 6% less than
was spent over the last four years,' he said. 'But as well as that, we
are actually encouraging private and other money into flood defences and
making sure they are more efficient as we build them.
'I am quite convinced we are going to
provide flood defences for another extra 145,000 homes over the period
ahead and that’s very important.'
Flooding: A caravan park at Guarlford between Tewkesbury and Worcester surrounded by flood water as the river Severn burst its banks.
Worcester County Cricket Club's New Road ground was left resembling a boating lake after waters poured into the stadium
Flood water surrounds St Michael and All Angels church in Tirley, Gloucestershire after becoming marooned in the floodwaters
Worcester racecourse is unlikely to have many races planned over the coming days after floodwater turned it into a lake
The Worcester bypass is just about high enough to stay above the water following the flooding along the River Severn