Flood insurance talks 'advanced'

Updated: 
FloodThe Government is at an "advanced stage" in its negotiations with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) over the future of flood insurance, a minister has insisted after Labour claimed the talks were in "absolute disarray".

Defra minister Richard Benyon told MPs meetings were taking place on an "almost seemingly daily basis" and the Coalition was determined to achieve a settlement that ensured affordable insurance bills for those at flood risk, but did not place unsustainable costs on wider policy holders and the taxpayer.


His comments were made as the Government came under fire from the Opposition over the progress of the talks following widespread flooding across the country.

Karl Turner, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull East, said: "The statement of principles runs out in June 2013, the ABI consider the negotiations with Government to be at crisis point. They estimate that 200,000 people will be without insurance.

"What do I say to my constituents who are coming to my surgery, asking me what do they do about insurance, this is in absolute disarray."

Mr Benyon replied: "I entirely reject the idea that our talks with the ABI are at crisis point.

"They could not be more different, they are at a very high tempo, we are negotiating with them, meetings are happening on an almost seemingly daily basis and at the highest level in Government and we want to achieve something that is better than the last Government negotiated with the industry.

"These are large international financial institutions we want to get this right for the taxpayer, for those at flood risk and we are working really hard to achieve that."

He later added: "Constructive discussions with the Association of British Insurers on behalf of their members and others about the future of flood insurance continue at the highest levels in Government. A range of options are on the table, and no final decisions have been taken.

"We need a solution that ensures affordable insurance bills for those at flood risk but does not place unsustainable costs on wider policy holders and the taxpayer."