FSB concerned at cost to small firms after flooding hits parts of the UK

FSB National Chairman meets businesses in York devastated by the latest flooding and calls for better insurance cover

Small firms need insurance protection against flooding as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) raises concerns that many businesses in high-risk flood areas cannot get adequate insurance cover and will have to pay out themselves to repair damage.

The FSB believes that further investment in flood defences would make it easier for businesses and householders to get insurance. This would protect them against the cost of repair.

The FSB is urging the Government to do more to protect small firms in areas at high risk of flooding. It should work closely with the Environment Agency on flood defences and in the immediate term it should reach a resolution with the insurance industry. The Association of British Insurers and the Government need to come to a swift decision on universal cover which ends in June 2013.

One FSB member in York, who does not wish to be named, said that he had already been flooded around 18 times in 2012 and is having to pay out around £10,000 each time to repair the damage. “This is devastating my business and I don’t have insurance for flood damage.”

About 200 flood warnings are in force in England and Wales, with major road and rail links affected across much of the south west, Wales and Yorkshire.

Speaking from York where he is visiting an FSB member and other businesses affected, John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“It is unacceptable that small firms are paying out what could amount to tens of thousands of pounds because they can’t get adequate insurance protection from their insurers. Nor is it acceptable that flood defences aren’t robust enough to withstand the rain. The money these firms are paying out could be being used to grow their business or take on more staff. Instead they have to pay themselves to repair the damage. This can’t carry on year-after-year, so the Government and insurance industry must reach a decision on the universal cover as soon as possible. For those firms that have cover and have been affected, their insurers should pay out quickly to ensure the business can start trading again.”


Notes to editors

The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with around 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK’s Real-Life Entrepreneurs who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk.

FSB members can get help with a claim from FSB Insurance – they don’t need a policy. The number is 0845 762 6158. www.fsb.org.uk/insurance-service

Small businesses are covered under the existing Statement of Principles, which is due to expire in June 2013. There is no definition from the ABI about what constitutes a small business; it is for individual insurers to decide this under the existing agreement.

John Walker will be in York from midday until 1500 Wednesday 28 November 2012. He will meet affected businesses and Cllr James Alexander, Leader of York Council.

National media contacts

Liesl Smith: 020 7592 8128 / 07917 628926 liesl.smith@fsb.org.uk
Sara Crane: 020 7592 8113 / 07595 067068 sara.crane@fsb.org.uk
Prue Watson: 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125 695 prue.watson@fsb.org.uk 

Local media contact

Emma Smailes: 01751 467165 / 07917 628918 emma.smailes@fsb.org.uk