Westminster Council is calling on the government to expand its flood reinsurance scheme to cover private renters.

Flood Re, which steps in when normal insurance firms won’t insure a property at the greatest risk of flooding, is unavailable to properties in blocks of more than four flats, or for private renters, according to newspaper reports

After suffering 253 flooding-related incidents last year, 70 more than any other London borough, the local authority believes the scheme is insufficient due to its restrictive criteria. Last July, amajor incident was declared when a month’s worth of rain fell in one day, causing severe damage to hundreds of homes and businesses in the borough.

Personal toll

geoff baraclough westminsterr flo

Geoff Barraclough (pictured), member for planning and economic development, says the damage caused by the floods destroyed many residents’ homes, ruined their life-long possessions and took a personal toll on many people.

He adds: “The government should urgently review Flood Re’s needlessly restrictive eligibility criteria so that the scheme can protect all of our residents.”

The Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), says renters and landlords can obtain contents insurance through Flood Re when full home insurance policies are not available.

But landlords are unable to make use of it since landlord insurance is classified as a commercial business insurance, which is not available through the scheme.

A Defra spokesperson told The Standard: “Tenants and leaseholders can obtain contents insurance supported by this scheme. Landlord insurance is often covered by bespoke policies, and we’ve worked with the industry to set up a new flood insurance directory to signpost customers to when they cannot offer flood cover.”

In 2021/22, 256,634 properties across the country were covered by the scheme.


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