World Climate Foundation
Flood Re: Building a Resilient Present on the Path to a Safer Future
by Andy Bord, Chief Executive Officer, Flood Re
As a partner of World Climate Summit 2022, Flood Re is actively developing a global partnership for climate change mitigation through the latest innovations in flood protection. Andy Bord, Chief Executive of Flood Re, will share valuable insights at the Investment Panel Session 2B “Insuring for Resilience - Moving Beyond Traditional Risk Management and Response to Insure for Resilience” on 14 November in Sharm el-Sheikh.
This article introduces Flood Re’s Property Resilience Adaptations technology and explains how it increases flood resilience in the UK.
The Greatest Natural Disaster Risk in the UK
This summer, the UK suffered from extreme weather in a manner rarely seen before. It demonstrated to us the true power of climate change. In some instances, we transitioned between the most barren droughts for 40 years and flash flooding in a matter of hours. While we remain unsure of which weather event is next, one thing we can be confident about is how underprepared the UK is to deal with the consequences. 2022 has shown us the power of climate change like none other.
Much of the debate that we see is rightly focused on what needs to be done to prevent climate change from happening. We have seen countless targets, commitments and actions taken to commit the country (and the planet) to a path that will ensure the safety of future generations. What is missing from the current debate, however, is how we will protect those currently suffering from the impact of extreme climate change and how we will resolve to build a resilient present on the path to a safer future.
“To live with the climate of today and the future we need global collaboration that recognises the benefit of public and private sectors working and adapting together for a common goal".
- Andy Bord, CEO, Flood Re
With regards to flooding, the conception amongst the public that flooding is largely an event reserved for winter months is, in fact, wrong. Data from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs show that the less well-known surface water flooding is actually the most prevalent form of flooding in England, affecting approximately 3.2 million properties, and is now the greatest natural disaster risk in the UK. Surface water flooding is more common after periods of prolonged drought – exacerbated by more extreme weather.
During our droughts, the focus has been on UK water resilience and the need for long-term plans to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to meet future water demand, including flooding. The Government is committed to spending £5.2bn over the next six years on the nation’s flood defences. The Environment Agency has already better protected 314,000 homes through a programme of improvements, over the last six years, to flood and coastal defences. However, to create more meaningful resilience we need to take a more targeted approach.
Flooding is more selective in its outcome than drought; select homes are at much higher risk than others. Fortunately, properties can be protected by installing flood resilience measures tailored to individual properties and homeowners’ needs. This, in partnership with the national infrastructure programmes, is the two-pronged approach required to create an appropriately resilient housing stock.
Safer Homes with Property Resilience Adaptations (PFR)
At Flood Re, we are working hard to counter these severely impacted homes. This year, we launched a revolutionary new scheme, Build Back Better, which reduces the cost and impact of future floods by more quickly and efficiently fitting homes with property resilience adaptations (PFR). Build Back Better allows Flood Re to pay for additional improvements to homes, above the cost of initial flood damage to a property, with the aim to make it resilient to future floods.
Simple, low-cost PFR improvements, such as airbrick covers, raised electrical sockets and sealing brickwork can have transformative effects on both the home and owner that Flood Re is witnessing first-hand. Properties that were once subject to serious – and sometimes irredeemable - damage that would leave owners displaced for months are now only suffering from small puddles, allowing owners to return home within a matter of hours.
For householders, trust and reassurance are paramount. Homes provide people with safety and comfort, and PFR goes that extra step in settling minds when flood warnings are issued. Already we have seen how the extreme weather events from this summer have focused minds. Our recent research has shown that almost a quarter (22%) of homeowners surveyed are now actively considering the installation of climate-related adaptations to their current property.
However, there must be reassurances for homeowners that homes are properly and effectively adapted to climate change. To achieve this, homes of the future should be issued with a climate performance certificate, similar to energy performance ratings, to give homeowners full transparency of the resilience of their property, both in terms of performance and quality of the measures installed.
This too provides reassurance when it comes to home insurance. The higher the level of resilience a property has the lesser the severity of the damage. This leads to lower premiums for households and peace of mind for homeowners that they are protected from both financial and emotional trauma.
A Legacy For a Resilient Market and Resilient Nation of Homes
Our current mission to ensure the UK’s flood resilience is one we take extremely seriously. Set up in 2016 as a joint initiative between industry and Government, our purpose is to create a more resilient market within 25 years of our creation and leave behind a long-lasting legacy that will positively impact future generations beyond our 2039 exit date. It is important that our legacy leaves not only a resilient market but also a resilient nation of homes.
At Flood Re, our 2039 deadline to exit from the market serves as our motivation to achieve our aims. Success is a collective effort, but we will not cease in our commitment to ensure that the UK, despite the increase in extreme weather events, is always able to manage its present and future flood risk.
What is relevant in the UK is relevant globally. Unfortunately, COP26 was a missed opportunity to put adaptation on the global agenda and we cannot afford for COP27 to do the same.
“The UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow last year helped to highlight the need for adaptation and resilience in the UK – while mitigation is critical to reaching Net Zero we also need to live with the climate change that we are already seeing. Having a voice at the World Climate Summit means we are able to speak to a global audience about our world leading flood insurance scheme and engage with stakeholders from a huge range of backgrounds, industries and governments".
- Andy Bord, CEO, Flood Re
About Flood Re
Flood Re is a joint initiative between the Government and insurers making sure flood cover, as part of household insurance policies, is more available and affordable. Since its launch, the availability of flood insurance policies for those with prior flood claims has increased significantly. Before Flood Re, only 9% of householders with previous flood claims could get two or more quotes, now 100% can get 10 or more quotes. This April Flood Re launched its Build Back Better scheme which will support insurers to repair homes that have flooded with a range of property flood resilience measures. Repairs like these can help hold back future flood waters and make it easier to repair your home after a flood. Build Back Better is available through insurance companies who sign-up for the scheme.
Learn more: www.floodre.co.uk
About the author
Andy Bord is Flood Re’s Chief Executive Officer. Andy graduated with a degree in Physics from the University of Bristol, and began his career at BT. He joined Singlepoint as Operations Director in 2000 which was subsequently acquired by Vodafone in 2003. He was then appointed Head of Vodafone.co.uk and Consumer Direct Sales, latterly becoming Head of Broadband Development. Andy moved into the insurance industry in 2008, joining BGL Group where he managed the own-brand portfolio of personal lines insurance products and then undertook a number of due diligence assignments for HIG Capital, one of which led to him being appointed as interim CEO of Freedom Finance. In January 2017, Andy joined Flood Re as Interim CEO before being appointed to the role permanently in April 2017.