Good news for flood victims

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A DOUBLE dose of good news on flood insurance has been given to Morpeth residents.

Castle Morpeth Housing is visiting 190 households this week with an offer of affordable contents insurance.

And town councillor David Parker has reported a positive national response to Morpeth’s flood risk insurance model.

The news will come as a welcome boost following huge hikes in insurance excesses and premiums since the September 2008 flood and, with the Environment Agency planning to defer work on the Morpeth flood alleviation project this year, it is feared that some people will struggle to find any cover at all.

A working group of Morpeth Town Council, the Morpeth Flood Action Group and the Chamber of Trade drew up a model for future flood insurance cover whereby the costs would be spread across all policy-holders and a proportion of premiums would go into a national pot to be paid out in the event of disaster.After the proposal was shown at a national conference last year, Coun Parker, who chaired the Morpeth team, was invited to join a working group set up by the Government to look into the issue further.

He travelled to London to present the model to the group last week and was encouraged by the response.

“The Government working group considered the model for nearly two hours – much longer than originally planned,” said Coun Parker. “There were many searching questions and comments. Morpeth was taken seriously and the work done by the Morpeth group was much appreciated.”

Coun Parker was buoyed throughout his presentation by the sense of solidarity in Morpeth towards the insurance problems and its determination to fight for flood defences.

He said: “What I’m quite pleased about in one sense and quite moved by in another, is looking at the letters from the children in the Herald about the flood. Even the children are beginning to see that insurance is an important issue.”

Discussions will continue on the issue and a decision will be made in the summer if the model is to be adopted. Meanwhile, Castle Morpeth Housing tenants have been told they may be able to get affordable insurance through a scheme operated by the association’s parent company Isos.

Tenancy Services Manager Kath Glen said: “Everyone in Morpeth is concerned about the flood defence work being put off and we are working with the Morpeth Flood Action group and other interested parties to get it reinstated.

“However, alongside that work, we need to take action now to help our tenants get properly insured, just in case the worst does happen and we get a repeat of the 2008 floods.

“We work in partnership with an insurance company which offers low cost insurance for residents in social housing.”

The association cannot guarantee that all tenants will be covered and it encourages them to compare any quotes with other providers to make sure they get the best deal.

It is also investing in high quality flood-proof doors and airbrick covers for 40 homes in Challoners Gardens.