SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Affordable flood insurance survey results

In November-December 2018, a flood insurance survey was carried out for the SRA by the Community Council for Somerset.

Lack of affordable flood insurance was one of many worries faced by households in Somerset after the floods of 2013-14, and one of the survey’s aims was to find out if this was still a problem in some of the worst-hit communities.

A particular focus was on what difference the setting-up of Flood Re in 2016 had made.

Questionnaires were sent to 1,300 households in Athelney, Burrowbridge, East Lyng, Fordgate, Moorland, Muchelney, Oath, Thorney, West Yeo and Westonzoyland, and county councillors engaged with residents in Chadmead and North Curry.

People elsewhere in Somerset were able to get involved with the survey if they wanted to.

Just under 400 people responded.

A full report of the survey’s findings was published in 2019 on Somerset Rivers Authority’s website.

Key points from the survey

Key points include:

76% of those who responded to the consultation had flood insurance, 22% did not, and 2% reported that they could not get insurance.

74% were able to access affordable flood insurance without problems, while 21% had experienced some difficulty with this.

For those who were flooded out of their homes, problems with affordability rose to 41%.

Comments showed that many had experienced large increases in premiums, sometimes more than 100%. Some respondents reported excesses of between £3,000 and £30,000.

56% had remained with the same insurer since 2013-14 and 32% had changed insurer, with the remaining respondents stating this was not applicable to them.

62% were not aware of Flood Re, a joint initiative between the Government and insurers to make insurance more affordable.

47% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their household was less at risk of flooding now than in 2013-14, 32% were unsure, 19% either disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 2% expressed no opinion.

46% agreed or strongly agreed that their community was more prepared than in 2013-14, 33% were unsure, 17% either disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 3% expressed no opinion.

47% agreed or strongly agreed that works undertaken by the SRA and other public bodies has reduced the risk of flooding, 33% were unsure, 18% either disagreed or strongly disagreed, 2% expressed no opinion.


When questionnaires were first sent out, the SRA promised to get back to people with the survey’s results, and this was done by the SRA’s new community engagement team.

As flood insurance remains a challenge for many people, residents were also offered advice about ways of getting the best possible prices.

For example, it is important to check that insurers are quoting for exactly the right address (a bigger problem than is commonly recognised), to check that brokers can access Flood Re, to use online price comparison sites, and to seek other quotes even when intending to stay with the same insurer.

Information was given about new types of flood insurance that use sensors to detect water, and advice offered on how to access emotional support for people affected by flooding.

Flood Re and ClimateWise

Also included in mail-outs was a leaflet, designed by Mary Dhonau of Know Your Flood Risk and provided by Flood Re, with practical ideas about improving property level flood resistance and resilience.

Flood Re is a not-for-profit fund owned and managed by the insurance industry, that insures insurers against flooding losses. The SRA’s community engagement team consulted with senior Flood Re staff, who were very interested in the survey’s findings.

Talks led to further conversations with ClimateWise, an insurance industry initiative based at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University.

ClimateWise looks at cases across the world to find better ways for insurers to deal with increasing environmental pressures caused by climate change.

Following discussions with the SRA and Somerset County Council, ClimateWise has identified Somerset as a preferred location for a pilot study, to consider and develop new ways of thinking ways forward.

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