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Business Flood Insurance

Posted: 11/05/22

This blog has been written by a member of the Newground Flood Team.

According to Environment Agency data, there are currently around 185,000 commercial properties at risk of flooding in England and Wales. While the Flood Re scheme was launched for homeowners in April 2016, it wasn’t until December 2016 that the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) announced a scheme for businesses.


So, what options are available to those businesses that may be struggling to obtain cover or afford insurance premiums?


The BIBA Commercial Property Scheme is designed to assist businesses located in flood risk areas or those which have previously suffered losses due to flooding. The scheme uses advanced flood mapping data sets to provide a more defined location of a property in order to calculate its flood risk as accurately and fairly as possible. It also takes into consideration any flood resilience measures installed at the premises which may help to reduce premiums. The BIBA initiative is designed to allow those ineligible for cover through Flood Re (such as businesses, leasehold properties, let properties and charities) to obtain the level of cover they require.

You can read more about the scheme and BIBA flood insurance on the links below…

Improving your Business Flood Resilience!

Investing in Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures could not only help to make flood cover accessible in the longer term, but it could also help to prevent your business from flooding, or massively reduce the downtime and damage caused if it does – potentially making an insurance claim unnecessary. According to Flood Assist Insurance, on average, every £1 spent on Property Flood Resilience provides a £5 saving on future damages. Demonstrating that a business is flood aware; registered to receive flood warnings and has an emergency flood plan in place, can make the provision of flood insurance cover a far more attractive proposition to insurers. You can sign up to receive flood warnings by clicking here.


Tailored Policy Premium and Excess Values

Insurers may offer the option of a lower premium at the expense of a much higher excess, or vice versa. While this can help to make flood risk cover on your policy more affordable, careful consideration should be given to the likelihood, severity, and impact of a flood event on the business.

Understanding your flood risk and estimating the recovery costs following a flood will help you to determine the best way forward, although the intangible costs, such as loss of earnings and custom, as well as financial liabilities through failure to fulfil contracts or orders, may be somewhat harder to quantify. Comprehensive business flood planning however can help to reduce these costs MASSIVLEY!

You can check your flood risk by clicking here.


Flood Excess Insurance

Often known as excess ‘buyback’ policies, excess insurance is an additional insurance policy which allows the holder to reduce the cost of the excess payable in the event of a claim on their primary policy. The value covered can vary, however it is possible to find excess insurance cover up to the value of £100,000. These policies can be easily obtained online through third party companies and brokers, and while in some cases it may not cover the primary excess in full, it may just help to make obtaining flood insurance cover viable.


Parametric Insurance

Parametric flood insurance, also known as ‘event based’ insurance, is designed to sit alongside your traditional policy. It shares the risk between the underwriter and the policy holder, and is priced through three main ‘parameters’:

  • The policy holder determines the fixed settlement figure to be paid out in the event the policy is triggered (up to a maximum of £5million).
  • The policy holder also determines the height the flood water must reach (trigger threshold) before a pay-out is made (minimum of 200mm depth).
  • The third variable is the flood risk, which varies from site to site, and is used to calculate your premium based on the two parameters above.

If the quote is too high, the customer can consider raising the trigger threshold or lowering the pay-out, or a mixture of both. Once these parameters are set and a premium is accepted, a flood water level sensor is installed on the external face of the premises and when the flood water level reaches the trigger threshold, the policy triggers pays out – usually within 48 hours. There is no loss adjustment, and the pay-out can be used for whatever the policy holder wishes, such as recovery costs, new equipment or staff wages.

There is also the option of a multi-trigger policy, as illustrated below. With this example a flood depth of 400mm would automatically trigger a pay-out of £20,000, but if the flood water continued to rise to 1m, an additional £100,000 would be paid out. This offers greater flexibility and can help to avoid missing out a payment altogether should the flood water fall just below 1m.

With parametric insurance and this type of policy, it is essential to estimate the damage and recovery costs of a potential flood at varying depths of water before deciding on the most appropriate level to insure against. Usually, the greater the flood depth, the higher the recovery costs are likely to be e.g. structural damage or damage to stock, machinery etc. Carrying out this exercise will help to determine what level of floodwater your business could potentially ‘self-recover’ from, and what level it couldn’t. Because a higher trigger depth equates to a lower premium for the settlement figure needed, a business can implement Property Flood Resilience measures at the premises to help raise the trigger threshold and lower the premium.

For further information or to find a broker, visit (not .com)


Self Insuring

Flood cover may not always be worth the cost; especially for smaller businesses capable of funding their own recovery costs. The smaller and more predictable the loss, the more economical it may be for a business to self-insure.

Setting aside money otherwise spent on the flood risk element of a policy not only helps towards the future recovery costs of a flood, but it could also fund the cost of installing flood alleviation measures, such as flood barriers and other solutions.

For an overview of this information, download our ‘Business Flood Insurance’ resource from The Flood Hub here.