Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte says home and business owners in Galway can finally expect a reprieve from unscrupulous insurance companies which have been refusing to insure premises because of flood concerns.  The Flood Insurance Bill 2016 will prevent insurance companies from discriminating against customers who meet certain criteria.

Some homeowners in east Galway have been unfairly denied insurance because their area may have been flooded before.  This Bill will ensure that insurance companies ensures that insurance companies cannot discriminate against home and business owners in areas with the standard 1 in 100 year flood risk as certified by the OPW.

“Flooding, and flood insurance has been a major issue for people in parts of east Galway for a number of years.  I have been working with families and business owners who have been snubbed by insurance companies because they are in an area that may have been affected by flooding. Despite the construction of a flood wall in Ballinasloe in the aftermath of the 2009 floods, 60% of homes in the Derrymullen estate were refused insurance by a range of companies, even though the houses were completely unaffected by last winter’s floods.

“Our Bill will ensure that premises such as these, which are covered by the OPW’s 1 in 100 year flood risk, or in areas which have had State approved flood prevention or defence schemes built, can be insured.

“Insurance companies must be forced to widen their cover, and this legislation will go a long way to addressing this issue.  An insurer would still be entitled to charge a premium if it is justified by a certain risk profile, however this would have to be both substantiated and reasonable.  Property owners who feel they have been unfairly refused insurance will have the option of lodging a complaint with the Financial Services Ombudsman.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to securing a fair deal for flood affected families and businesses and this Bill is another step forward in that process”.