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The University of Southampton
Insurance Law Research Group

Flood insurance

In the last few years, floods have caused chaos in many communities across the UK. Heavy rain and high winds have swept across the country raising river levels to alarming levels and increasing the power of damaging surge tides.

The result has been misery for families forced out of their homes by flood water and big bills for insurance companies who foot the bills for repairs. Now, many householders who live in areas of high flood risk are increasingly finding it difficult to find affordable home insurance.

An arrangement between the UK government and insurers to provide insurance cover for people in the worst ‘at risk' areas expired in June 2013. Researchers at Southampton Law School carried out a major project to provide background information to policymakers who will decide on how to tackle the problem. Johanna Hjalmarsson and Mateusz Bek assessed how a selection of other countries have dealt with home insurance and with legal issues surrounding floods and other natural disasters.

The project led to a Report, published on 24 June 2013 and presented at an event in the Houses of Parliament on 2 July 2013 at an event chaired by John Denham MP. Responses were subsequently submitted to consultations by the Environment Agency, DEFRA and the EU.


In November 2014, the Insurance Law Research Group was awarded ESRC Funding for a project on catastrophic events and state-backed insurance. Under this project, we arranged an event at Quadrant Chambers in June 2015 with speakers including Professor Donald T. Hornstein from the University of North Carolina, Dr Swenja Surminski from LSE and Mateusz Bek, Professor James Davey and Johanna Hjalmarsson from Southampton. The papers from the event have been compiled into a report that is available on eprints through the link below.

In between funding opportunities, the ILRG continues to write articles and submit consultation responses. For a list of our publications on flood insurance to date, click here.

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